1 Timothy 6:17-19 – 17 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.18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,19 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.
I don’t feel rich. When I look at my bank account, there’s money in it, and we can pay our bills and have fun, but my family doesn’t have excess… I don’t feel rich, and so when I read a passage in the Bible targeting the “rich” I admit, sometimes I think, “yeah, that’s right all you rich people better listen up!”
Of course, then I remember I live in the United States of America where “the typical person in the bottom 5 percent of the American income distribution is still richer than 68 percent of the world’s inhabitants.” (Forbes.com) I am rich, especially by the standard the apostle Paul set for his young protégé Timothy. “Do good… be rich in good works.” The command is not about not being rich – as though being rich was a sin in and of itself. It’s about what we do with our lives and our riches. Do we live only to gain more wealth for our own sake, or do we live for the sake of others?
The model of Jesus Christ is no different. Though he was God, he did not consider his place as something to be held onto or hoarded, but instead he become nothing… a mere servant, putting on human flesh and then he gave up that flesh on the cross… ** The truth is, Jesus gave up the glorious riches of heaven so that we might be able to enjoy the riches of salvation.
This past weekend, my congregation had the privilege of being part of a Night to Shine Prom, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation and in partnership with the North Lakeland Presbyterian Church. It was tremendous! This event, which is aimed at helping people with special needs feel loved and honored through a night of fun, dancing and much more, reminded me that I serve in a church where Paul’s words are consistently lived out. The people of FPC Lakeland and NLPC are generous with their time, talent, and treasure. They showed up to monitor bathrooms and dance with their guests. They directed traffic and laid out food. They took photographs that highlighted the beauty in every individual. They sought to be rich in their work and to make much of others. We are not perfect. I am not perfect, but this past Friday I can say that we made one more step to “take hold of that which is truly life.”
My Lenten prayer is that I will continue to do the same each everyday.