The Work Plan for the Rich

Eric Russ, Speaker

1 Timothy 6:17-19 | January 14 - Sunday Evening,

Sunday Evening,
January 14
The Work Plan for the Rich | 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Eric Russ, Speaker

Will you guys bow your heads and go to the Lord with me as we trust Him for this time?

Holy God, we clearly need You and we thank You that we can gather together as Your people and be reminded that it is the world that is crazy and not us, that You have risen and You reign and we ask that Your Holy Spirit would be glory to Your name as by Your grace You use me. Lord, we pray that Your words will be spoken. We ask that You would mobilize us for Your glory and that You would use this time to bring Yourself honor and praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

If you were here this morning, I hope you were encouraged. Pastor Derek, I thought, it was wonderful just to be reminded and to be encouraged about eternal perspective. I was extremely encouraged because I thought, wow, that’s how the Lord is, man. Like, we hadn’t talked about what I was going to teach or what he was going to teach, and I think they fit in line well together, because he talked about eternal perspective and I think the word that God has for us tonight as you turn to 1 Timothy is what does it look like to have eternal perspective? How do you live that out? What are some practical ways we live that out? I think we get some good instruction from Paul to Timothy in the book of Timothy.

I think it’s a very good word for us considering, but a very challenging word, to be honest, because when I think of the blessings of this local community family, I think of all the love we’ve received, I think of all the kindness, I think of watching us go on mission and care for people in our communities. But I also realize, as I looked at this Word and thought, man, this is something that I have to always be on guard of, and I think most of us as Americans have to be on guard of, and that is the reality that you and I are rich. That most of us, if not all of us in this room, are rich. When you hear that, some of you are going, “Has he seen my checkbook? I am not rich.”

But I want to encourage you on two perspectives real quick. The first perspective I want to encourage you that I say that not based on just dollars and cents, we’re not talking just dollars and cents. I don’t think the Bible is only talking about that when it talk about rich. I also want to encourage you that I’m talking about the perspective based on the fact that 99% of the world doesn’t have what we have. In fact, if many of you in here right now are college educated, that right there is just, is being rich.

So I want to start by saying in comparison to everyone else, I would say we are, we are very rich.

The second perspective that I want to give you, though, is when I say “rich,” don’t automatically think that’s a bad thing. Right? Because I want to propose that the Bible shows us, specifically in Proverbs, that it’s not about being rich and not being rich, it’s really about how is one godly rich? Because you can be godly rich and you can be ungodly rich. At the same time, you can be godly poor and ungodly poor. Right?

One person has all these different resources and they find themselves wanting to pour their lives out. They’re sharing with other people. They’re seeing how they can take their stuff that they have and they realize, oh, it’s not mine, I’m a steward, and they are finding themselves trying to work for God with their resources, to bring Him glory. That’s godly rich.

But ungodly rich is someone who consumes and wants more and what they have they want to guard and make sure they can keep it and not share with other people. Because they have it and because they realize, “Oh, look what I have, I must have earned it. It must be mine so I must be better than you.” That’s ungodly rich.

But poor folk don’t get off too easy, too. We’ve got to be careful in a church. I’ve seen this so many times in a church, and especially on mission trips. You go and you serve in an area that’s more destitute and people come back and they automatically think there’s virtue in being poor. That’s a lie, y’all. They come back and we say, “Oh, those people. They didn’t have nothing but they had Jesus. They were the nicest people I ever met.” I’m thinking to myself, “Man, some of the most evil people I’ve met have been poor.”

Because you can be godly poor, you can see the lot that God has given you in life, you can have it, not covet, and try to use whatever you have for His honor and glory, and be content. Or you can see what you have and you spend all your energy and all your time being upset and figuring, “How do I get what they have?” and thinking, “Only if I had this and only if I had that.” It dictates how you live and how you move. You’re not worried about other people, you’re worried about getting that thing that you think will satisfy you. That’s ungodly poor.

So this text here speaks about these things, fam. Turn with me to the first letter written to Timothy in the New Testament. The two epistles to Timothy and one to Titus are grouped together, just so that you understand, are grouped together and they’re called the pastoral epistles. They belong to the period at the close of Paul’s life. These texts provide valuable information about his thoughts as he’s preparing to pass the tasks to Timothy on how to pour into men and women and how to lead the local community for God’s glory. This letter is designed to supply Paul’s associate Timothy with exhortations and encouragements for both the present and future responsibilities that he’s going to have.

Paul is communicating to Timothy what should be the, I propose, the template to continuing to build and develop the people of God. That’s what’s going on here. In this text, when we look specifically at chapter 6, verse 17, Timothy is specifically dealing with rich people here. He’s dealing with rich people, family, at the church who are in danger of making a bad investment. So he wants to encourage them, he wants to talk to them about that.

Look how he starts. The Scriptures read, verse 17, chapter 6:

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”

You see that? He starts off and he expresses these two negative clauses. The first clause he gives these individuals, he says, “Do not be proud.” He says, “For the rich here, don’t be proud, don’t be arrogant.” And again, you might be thinking, “Well, I’m not rich.” I’m going to propose that’s the wrong thing to be thinking that “oh, I’m not rich.” I would propose to you, do you have attitudes of those who have resources that he’s talking about here?

Are you a respecter of persons, as the Bible calls it in Acts? You know what that means? A respecter of persons means you look at people and you see worth and value in them just based on the external, on what they have, what school they went to, who their family is, what their bank account, what their car looks like, their education, their pedigree.

God tells you and me that we are not called to be respecter of persons.

Rich is not just money. It could be you’re grasping for comfort. You’re desiring to make sure that you can, with your family, make sure your kids are just in a certain place.

Now the reason why he tells you not to be arrogant, and why he tells me not to be arrogant, if we have wealth, and I’ll explain that in a moment, why it’s important to put all of us in this camp, is because when we’re arrogant, family, what we’re saying to God is, “I did it, it’s mine, and I’m better.” When you and I find ourselves thinking a little more than we ought, we’re saying, “You know what? This wasn’t given to me, but I did it.” Right? You’ve gone to school, you’ve maybe worked well at a job and worked hard, and you start thinking, “Well, yeah, I’ve amassed all this myself. These resources, these people I know, these connections, I did this.” And when you start saying “I did it” as a Christian, you’re absolutely robbing God of His glory because you’re taking Him out of the scenario. “It wasn’t God, it was really what I did. Maybe I had a little help, but it was really what I did.”

If you did it, and if I did it, then it’s mine. Right? If I did it, then it should be mine. If it’s mine, then I should be the determiner of my own fate, of what I do with this, with these resources, with these connections, with this voice I have in the community. Because I did it.

You see that? It’s like a downward spiral. So if I did it and it’s mine, then maybe I must, okay, be a little better than you, brother. I must. Because you haven’t done all this.

Family, the text says different. The text says you didn’t do it. Look what it says in the Scriptures. Look what it says there. I love this. It says, “Don’t set your hopes on the certainty of riches but on God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” I love that. I love how God makes it really clear. No, no, no. It’s not, hear me, it’s not that you can’t have stuff, it’s not that you shouldn’t be rich. He’s saying but just remember, it’s God who gave it to you for you to richly enjoy. It’s the Lord’s grace, the Lord’s hand.

Some ways you can think how do I know, Eric, if I’m crossing a line from enjoyment to hope? Right? Am I enjoying the things that God has given me, or am I hoping in these things themselves? I would ask a few questions. First, I was thinking to myself, you know what? I ask myself sometimes, when I think of Jesus coming back, someone says, “Jesus is coming back,” how do I feel? Do I feel indifferent? If Jesus was to come back right now, would I be like, “Oh, man. I just got this money. You coming back on Tuesday, man?” Would I be a little like, ahhh, would I be indifferent? Or would I, because I’ve been pouring my life out as a drink offering, being misunderstood by the world, giving of myself and then I realize the sky cracks and there’s the Lord Jesus and tears are rolling down my face because it was worth it. Would that be my response? Or would it be like, “Wow, I’ve stored up so much treasure and time to make heaven on earth here, and You are messing up my plan.”

Isn’t it funny? Look at the trickery of Satan. He has, so conniving, he has taken a term that we all use and play around with in this world and it’s totally a lie from the pit. This whole concept, “have your best life now.” Right? That’s a coined. Everyone says it now, right? You’re having your best life now. Think about that, Christians, Christians, Christians. We are not. Our best life is not now. Our best life is not now. When you hear that, minister to the unbeliever, care for individuals. If a brother’s telling you that in the Lord, remind him that’s unbiblical. Your best life is not now.

Paul says to Timothy, “Remind them, don’t do that. Don’t do that.”

How do you determine hope, though? Right? Look at the passage. That language he’s using, family, that language seems like investment language. Right? Look at the second clause. He tells you, “So don’t be haughty,” but then he says, “nor don’t set your hopes on uncertainty of riches.” Your hopes on uncertainty of riches.

Now that’s interesting to me. it seems clear that the reason you’re not to trust in riches is because they’re uncertain, in two ways. First, the temporality of riches on earth. Guess what? You get them, you spend them, you enjoy them here, and then they’re gone. They’re gone.

So Paul is saying, “Timothy, remind the people of God, don’t put your trust in things that rust. Don’t put your trust in things that don’t last.” He’s saying, “No, no, no.”

But secondly, and this is even scarier, is not only is it temporal, but he’s saying, guess what? Many of us are fighting and you’re trying to gather all these resources and get all this stuff, and the world lies to you and me, so that’s why it seems normal. Right? It just seems normal. “Everybody else is doing it, Pastor E. Everyone else is storing up and grabbing their stuff and showing how many houses they have and spending, saving all their money for this thing and that thing and that vacation, all these things.”

And it’s good to have all that. Let me tell you something. I’m a responsible capitalist, okay? I like money. I struggle with this, too. But I’m realizing that this word, this is for me, like, oh, but Eric, remember you can spend all time and actually many of us will spend all our time trying to get rich and at the end of your day you still ain’t going to be rich.

So there’s two reasons – the temporality and the reality that guess what? You spend all your time wasting, and that’s the trick. Satan’s like, “You know what? How do I get you busy wasting your life? How do I get you busy running around, not doing what God wants you to be about, not being about His kingdom, trying to find the stored up treasures here.”

Then all of a sudden, like this morning, your life is that big. It’s like a vapor. You ever seen a vapor? You ever boil a hot dog? Next time you boil a hot dog, I pray the Holy Spirit reminds you of this sermon, that you will see the little smoke, poof, it’s done. That’s our life.

He says, “No, don’t waste your time.” I mean, think about it. We all invest in things. Right, fam? Many of us in here have stocks and mutual funds, you’re diving into crypto, many of us, young people you buy AirPods. We all have things that we’ve put money into. We all have things that we’ve put money into. So this isn’t abnormal.

I love how the Scriptures does that. It makes it very simple and clear. So think about the things you invest in. He’s like, “Would you invest in a car only to see it break down on day three? Only to see the engine explode? Would you invest in a stock only on day two to see it go from 100 to 0? Would you invest in your AirPods with everything that you like to see it just break and crumble?”

Very plainly, we’re going, “Of course not, of course not.” Well, that’s his point. He’s like, “Well, if that’s so simple for you and I to understand,” he’s like, “then Eric remember, family remember, that’s what it looks like when you and I find ourselves hoping in riches.” It’s a dumb investment.

So I love how he gives us this foreknowledge here, right? He tells us, he lets us know, although enticing, I know it’s enticing, I understand we have to have that balance and praise God for covenant community, that’s why we love and we need each other, because this is a struggle for all of us. I tell people all the time, as a pastor I’ve been serving the Lord in this capacity for a quarter of a century and I tell people, “Guess what, man? What I’ve learned in this journey is that I want to understand someone’s walk with Jesus, guess what I check out? I try and understand their pocketbook and their sex life.” When I look at those two, that’ll let me know a lot about their walk with the Lord because those areas are the ones where Satan constantly tries to grab you and destroy you and me.

Now, Eric, but I’m not rich. Well, see, that’s the thing. Can I give you a quick commercial? I talked about this a couple of weeks ago and I’m going to share it here, too. So think about this. Why does the Bible always speak, it almost seems in such a negative manner about rich people? Have you noticed that? Right? You don’t see God many times casting aspersions against the poor, do you? You don’t see Him saying, “Those poor people, it’s going to be harder for a poor person to go through the… ” You know, you don’t see that. You don’t see Him making these inferences of poor people having an issue with Jesus.

But you see all the time that God is talking about the wealth of the rich and how it’s hard to, man, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man into the kingdom of heaven. You’re thinking, “Man, Lord, that’s kind of harsh.” Right? And then you find yourself looking at your checkbook wondering what’s the cut off, what’s the break even. So am I that guy or…

Here’s what’s happening here, guys. The reason why God talks so much about those in power is because they’re in power. Here’s what I mean. God created you and me with purpose, value, and worth. Right? He created us in His image. We had the audacity to think we could be our own gods. We sinned against God. When we sinned against God, we just lost capacity to understand that we were all created in God’s image. Then because we became our own god in that way, we started the pecking order. So just like that, we started viewing people based on the color of their eyes, the color of their skin, what they wear, how much money they got, what’s their education. So that’s why from day one after sin all the way up to now people have been oppressing people in every kind of different land since the beginning of time because that’s how you and I are. That’s what sinful people do. We look at each other, we try to figure out a way to have a leg up and say, “Here’s why I’m better than you, here’s why I’m better than you, here’s why you should be subservient to me.” That’s what we do in life and sin because of our evil nature. We all think we are our own gods and we should be worshiped.

God looks around and He’s like, “Oh, my goodness. I created you with value, purpose, and worth and I created you to actually image me to one another, for people to see you and as they talk to you they’re reminded that God made them and that God loves them. That’s how it should be.”

But instead when people talk to us, they’re reminded of what they don’t have and how it could be better and how that guy was a little better than me. The pecking order. That’s our world, isn’t it? The have and the have-nots. Isn’t it?

Now we have all these unbelievers. Imagine that. Now you’ve got all these unbelievers who are dictating the culture, who are determining what’s valuable and what’s not valuable. Can you imagine that? What do you think’s going to happen when you have LeBron and Taylor Swift telling you what’s valuable and what’s not valuable?

So God is looking at that and going, “No, no, no, no, no. I didn’t create you like that.”

Imagine as a parent, you’re a parent, and I tell you, I can imagine, I remember when I was on staff at Campus Crusade for Christ, I thought, “Man, that’d be very hard as a parent,” I would tell these guys, because they’d get saved and they would go back home and want to preach to everybody. I’m like, “Listen, man. I get it. I love the Lord. I want you to be all about that gospel life, bro. However, you’ve got to keep in mind, you went away and you’re coming back and you’re telling your parents something they didn’t teach you. Have some humility there. Okay?”

Because can you imagine your kid, you’ve spent 18 years pouring into your kid, they go off to some town and they come back talking about who they are and you’re like, “Who told you that?”

Can you imagine? God is looking at us and we’re walking around telling, “John said my ear is too big and Fran said I don’t speak well and Johnny said I don’t run fast and I don’t know __ .” God is looking at the angels, like, “Who told him to think like that? Who told him to think that his value and his worth comes from all these external, existential things?

So God says, “Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to have Myself,” so God comes on the scene, Jesus Himself, and He starts speaking up. He goes in front of the powerful and the Pharisees and the rich and He says, “Hey, I want you to care for these poor people, and you shouldn’t treat her like that.” They’re like, “What is wrong with you?” He’s like, “Guess what? I have a voice. What I’m going to show you is that you should be speaking for these people.” But because they don’t have a voice because the powerful does, we take our stuff and we’re here and then we don’t speak for those here, well, God says, “Hey, guess what? They’re created in value, purpose, and worth, too. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves and make sure that they’re being heard, too.”

God, it’s not that He loves the poor more. He loves the poor the same. You hear me? That’s what He’s doing. He’s leveling the playing field because He’s saying, “Guess what? I’m going to speak for them and guess what? I’m going to rebirth you, I’m going to make you new. When I make you new, you’re going to be My spokesperson, so then you’re going to go and you’re going to take your education, you’re going to take your resources, you’re going to take the people you know and you’re going to gather those things and then you’re going to take them out to the world and you’re going to be just like I’m just so people know what a just God looks like because they’re going to see His just servant.”

That’s what God wants us to do. He wants you to retell that story that Jesus models here. I say that to say that’s why you see God speaking for the poor so much in the Bible. It’s not because He likes them more. It’s because He likes them the same. He knows that an evil world will not speak for the poor. So then He re-makes His people and He says, “Guess what? I’ve spoken for them, you’ve seen it in My world, I’m asking you to take your stuff, take your riches, take your voice, take your education, take your notoriety, take your connections, all the things you have, and be godly rich. Be godly rich. Don’t consume, dispense.” That’s what he’s saying.

So he says, “But instead hope in God.” Why? Because He’s the One who blesses you.

He continues on, verse 18. Look what he says. It’s God who provides us with everything, and then he says, here’s what they are to do: “They are,” verse 18, “they are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”

Family, you see that? I’m going to pause there. Paul tells Timothy, “Hey, there’s these three infinitives. Okay? I want you to do.”

And you know what’s interesting about these infinitives? Notice, again I don’t want to spend too much time on this, but I think it’s interesting that the last thing he said was to share your stuff. The last thing was about money. The first two was about life. You notice that? Look at the text. He says, “Do good and good works.” That sounds like language of rolling up your, that sounds like language of doing something with somebody. That doesn’t sound like checkbook stuff. Right? Because then at the end he says, “and share your stuff.” You notice that.

I wonder, I just wonder, if that’s intentional. That he wants you to have. He’s saying, “You know what? Personal involvement, sharing of ourselves.” I get it. Don’t you get that? I mean, I tell you, one of the hardest things, we’ll give a little cash, all right, man, well, here, let me put you some cash right quick.

When we start saying, “No, we want you to be involved.” Can I propose to you, here’s why he’s asking you and me to actually be involved, is because he knows it’ll change us. I’ll prove it in a moment. Let me show you.

So he doesn’t hold our hand. He doesn’t give us two or three things. He just says, “Do good, be rich in good works, be generous and ready to share.”

Now how does this determine hope in God? I would propose that he says hope in God, that this is, I would say this is akin to that. If you say what does it practically look like to hope in God, it seems like these infinitives make sense. He says “hope in God” and then he tells you do these things, which I would say he’s saying part of the evidence of that hope in God is when we’re doing these things. We’re giving of ourselves, pouring our lives out.

Now how does one determine if you’re hoping in God or not? How do you, okay, so I’m hoping in God. It seems from this text here, you know that in these contexts you’re hoping in God based on whatever you, or I would say you know what you’re hoping in based on whatever gets your time and your resources and your energy. Right?

When I look here, he’s telling you to do these things. Well, why is that difficult? Like hope in God. So he wants you to pour your life into other people, he wants you to give of your stuff, admit that we have resources, and again if you notice I’m talking more than money. I’m talking about man, our voice that we have. You know? Like, I’m not wealthy, but man, the Lord has blessed me with education, I have connections, I know tons of people that love the Lord, and He’s saying, “Are you using those, are you using all that I’ve given you, Eric? To be about kingdom purposes. To be rich in good deeds. Are you doing that?”

Here’s why I propose that that’s a difficult thing, fam. Here’s why I would say it’s difficult. If we just pause and we double click on it. I think it’s difficult because it demonstrates when you give of your stuff and your time, that is indicative of you saying, “I really trust You, God. I really trust You.” Because when you give of your stuff, you’re trusting that God is going to make sure you have stuff. Right? We don’t give of our stuff because we’re like, “Man, am I going to get more stuff? Will I have more? Do I need to protect this?”

Isn’t it a beautiful thing when you see someone, and I’ve seen this, can I just give a little pause? We have been so blessed as a family. I’ve seen several people in this local community who have wealth and I’ve watched them just giving and caring and pouring themselves out and it’s really convicting and it’s actually a cool model, it’s a cool tutorial for me, to see how free we can be when we really trust God, that, “God, you’ve given me this.”

I only think you can do this when you realize that God gave it to you, when you realize that it’s the one that the Lord has provided richly for you to enjoy, then you can go, “Oh, well, here.” Because you find yourself not acting like an owner but you’re acting like a steward. You realize, “Oh, it’s not mine. I’m just a steward, so I can give freely.”

I just remember, I think of this, to trust God is to think, “Okay, I trust God if I believe He’s good and I believe He loves me and He knows what’s best.” I was thinking, I just remember, I think as a parent that’s the most beautiful thing as a parent is in those moments where your kid demonstrates that trust in you, but it also can be frustrating when you feel like, when you’re like, “Hey, why are you not trusting me?” Right? I mean, if we get in our feelings.

I remember something as simple as I remember Lauren being like 2, a young baby, and she was scared of the water in the pool. We were at a public pool and I’m getting in the water and I’m like, “Come on, sweetie” and she’s scared to death. You know. She’s like, you know, trying to figure out a way to not go, “I gotta go to the bathroom.” So I’m like, “You used the bathroom six times. Come on.” She was scared. I remember thinking to myself, like, “Oh,” and got in my feelings, like, “Man,” I took it personal. I’m like, “Wait a minute. You know I’ll die for you, right? I’m not going to let anything happen to you in this water.” It was more like, “I want you to trust me, just know what I got you.” She was 2. I forget how old she was. She was a young baby, young kid. So she didn’t have the wherewithal.

But I wonder, when we go around and we kind of are a little nervous to give of our stuff, to give of our time, what is that saying about how we view a good sovereign God? It’s an issue of humble stewardship and service, guys. I believe that humble service and stewardship of that service is actually worship to the Lord. It’s that when you and I do that, we are worshiping God. We’re reminding Satan that he’s a liar. He wants you to long and he wants you to fall asleep. That’s what he wants to do for all of us. The flesh wants us to just, man, just devour and consume and just enjoy the here and now, trying to have heaven on earth so you cannot do and be who God has called you to be and do, family.

But I love this. Look at why it’s a good investment. Look at verse 19. The Bible says, “Thus be ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”

You see that, guys? That while you’re doing good for others, you’re actually storing up treasures.

Now here’s the thing. Paul was not advocating that if you are a giver, that you could earn salvation, right, favors from God, so that’s not, that’s not what we’re talking about here. What Paul is communicating here in the text it seems that good works are, that the Lord uses our lives as a resource for others in worship to God and to honor Christ and that when we’re doing this it’s a good foundation. It’s like good evidence of salvation for you and me. It assures us of eternal life that will inherit.

It reminds me of landmarks. My family they laugh all the time because I’m really bad at directions. I’m talking like clinically bad, it’s bad. But my wife, she loves landmarks. I don’t. I’m very type A. I’m just like, “I don’t need the landmarks. I just need very clear directions.” I’m not like, oh, then I see the blue rock. She loves the landmarks. Why? Because those landmarks kind of remind her, “I’m going in the right place. Okay, they said this, okay, cool. Oh, they said this, I’m going, okay.”

That’s what the text is doing for us. Paul is saying to Timothy that as we pour our lives out, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, serving other people, caring for others, seeing our resources as opportunities to be able to give and care and pour ourselves out for other people, God is saying, “Those are little marks on the freeway path to go, yes, that’s what Christians do.” That’s evidence, family.

So he just wants to remind us, I want you to have that evidence because all that will matter for eternity is the reign and rule of our great king God. Right? And those who reign with Him and His new creation. Everything else is meaningless or at best temporal, according to the text here.

God wants us, I would say He wants you to have this true life. It seems to me, look what it says in this test, it seems to me that he says, verse 19, you’re taking hold of life that is truly life. That when you and I are storing up these treasures for ourselves as a good foundation, we see those landmarks as a good foundation, it’s reminding me that, yeah, I do love the Lord, the Lord is honoring, He is worshiping, I am worshiping Him in my life.

It says that we get this eternal life, this true life. And may I propose that life eternal is not about, the whole point of eternal life is that it’s indestructible. Right? I would say it actually has a dual meaning here. I think there is indestructible component of eternal life, but also I think he’s saying that there’s something to be said about the fact that when you and I are born again in Christ, that eternal life doesn’t start when Christ comes back, but it starts when you and I are born again. That we are now enjoying eternal life.

And it reminds me of Acts chapter 20, verse 35. Look what that text says. Luke writes, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

See that, family? Man. Maybe there is something that the Lord has hardwired in you and me that when we give of ourselves and we steward what God has given you and me, to bless others, and we consistently like thwart the noise of the flesh and the world telling you to settle and consume and protect, I wonder is that how life was really meant to be lived? I wonder if that’s part of the truly true life. I wonder if that’s part of the true life in Christ, as we’re born again in Christ.

So Paul says to Timothy, fam, when stewarding your resources, Timothy, tell the people you’re stewarding your resources for the benefit of others, please turn your back against a false life, turn toward true life, and indeed that’s the good and smart and only investment to make. He says, “if you do that, you’re guaranteed by the Creator of the universe,” according to the text, “to have true life.” Alternative is not that it might happen or could possibly happen, but it is guaranteed that we will experience failure and a waste of life any other way.

So tell me, church, tell me, people of God, tell me, family – isn’t it a no-brainer? Isn’t it a no-brainer? This text is not just saying a to-do list, it’s saying that we have an opportunity to be who we were created to be and that as image-bearers reminding people that they are created with purpose, value, and worth. We can take all that we have, our resources, because we’re rich. We can be fully human by making a good investment, by doing good, by richly doing good, and by being willing to share.

My prayer is that you and I this next week, as you and your small groups, that you would talk about, “How will I guard myself against hoping in riches?” That you would ask yourself an application question like, “What are the riches in my life that I find myself guarding and hoarding, and how do I dispense those for God’s glory?”

And a final practical question I want you to ask is, “What are practical ways that you practice hoping in God?”

Let’s pray. Lord, we admit, we confess that this world screams in our ear and several times, many times we listen and we take what they prize and enjoy and we follow suit. Lord, we ask for Your forgiveness. We ask, Lord, that You would allow us not to settle for plastic pearls but would You allow us to enjoy and to learn to enjoy Your riches. Lord, we pray that all the things we have we would enjoy them, love them, and Lord that we would not hope in any of them. Lord, by Your grace, would You teach us to be stewards, to be humble, and to be jealous for Your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.