Section Three: The Lifestyle Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Three: Trusting God’s Provision.
Our reading for today: 1st Timothy 6: 6-12 (MsgB)
A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough. But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after. But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.
Sometimes, when studying a subject, it’s a good thing to go back into our history books and determine the truest meaning of the words we are currently using. The English word wealth, for example, has a richer and deeper meaning than most of us might first imagine. So today, as we continue exploring the importance of Trusting God’s Provision, I think it might be very helpful for us to look a bit deeper into this interesting word we find Paul talking about here with his young disciple, Timothy.
Wealth, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is the abundance of valuable resources or treasured material possessions. In other words, wealth is not only about money, per se, but is more about having an abundance of treasured resources in our possession. So, yes, having a big bank account and lots of worldly possessions is a good example of wealth. But, in order to be fair to the truest definition of the word, if I place a high value on old tin cans and have a great abundance of them; I too, will qualify in Webster’s language, as being a man of great wealth! (When it comes to old tin cans!)
Paul picks up on this concept of abundance in today’s passage, when he encourages Timothy to focus his idea of wealth upon things beyond the pursuit of money and earthly possessions. The real warning found in Paul’s words here is that so very often, we human beings put on blinders and wrongly associate wealth only with money. And just as it occurs in our world today, apparently there were some in the early church who lost their focus and spent more of their time and energy trying to accumulate an abundance of money than they did pursuing wealth in the things of God. Look here at what kind of wealth Paul encourages Timothy to pursue…
A rich simplicity of being yourself before God.
A righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy.
Wow! I wonder what my life might look like if I spent more time accumulating more wealth in these little gems?
Which now brings us to the second revelation about the core meaning of our English word wealth. It’s intriguing to note that the originating Old English word weal served as the base word for our modern word wealth, and that weal actually refers to an abundance of possessions held by an individual, a community, or region or country to the benefit of the common good!
Isn’t it interesting that back in the day, true wealth was associated with having an abundance of treasures which could be of the most benefit to both ourselves and others? Yet sadly, today, in our self-centered, self-aggrandizing society, we now define wealth as the accumulation of money or possessions that benefit the worldly trinity: Me, Myself and I!
So, how about you and I get about the business of restoring the original meaning to our English word wealth? How about, first of all, we pull the word back from only meaning an abundance of money and possessions, and we become wealthier, for example, with alternative treasures such as the currencies of Faith, Hope, and Love? Secondly, how about if we restore the Old English definition of wealth and begin to believe that whatever treasures of money and possessions that God might send our way are not just to be used for personal benefit, but for the good of all?
Just think how our world might change for the good if we could only take back this one word, removing it from the trash heap of selfish endeavors, and restore it back to its historical and biblical moorings where true wealth is actually a good thing that benefits us all?
My prayer: Jesus, as I see it, it’s time to restore the original biblical and historical concepts of wealth to my generation. May I always be found seeking an abundance of those things You believe to be treasure; and with whatever wealth that might come my way, may it always be for the greater good of both myself and others, while also glorifying the Kingdom of God. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Where have I lost my way in the definition of wealth? Have I become selfishly consumed in any abundance I might have, or have I focused exclusively on money and possessions while excluding other Kingdom qualities that also define being wealthy?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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