17Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. 18Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. 19This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so they will know what true life is like.
20Timothy, guard what God has placed in your care! Don't pay any attention to godless and stupid talk that sounds smart but really isn't. 21Some people have even lost their faith by believing this talk.
I pray that the Lord will be kind to all of you!
Do you have everything you need? To answer this question, you need to ask another: ‘everything you need for what?’ God will give you everything you need to “enjoy life” (v 17), where enjoying life means generosity, looking to help others and remembering that “life” extends beyond our present earthly existence (vv 18,19).
Our understanding of “enjoying life” is so limited. C. S. Lewis’s famous quote reminds us we are “half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased” (C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, http://www.verber.com/mark/xian/weight-of-glory.pdf).
We can be very pleased, mostly with ourselves, if we are rich. We “enjoy” privileges not available to others. We go where we want, when we want. We buy ourselves gadgets or create even more leisure time by buying services for things we’d rather not do ourselves. We can relax without anxiety knowing our food and future are secure.
But this is not life as God knows it. It’s existence, trusting in things that are fragile and can’t last.
All we have has God as its source (v 17). As stewards we are to make resources available to others.
And generosity for rich people must mean more than skimming off the top of the pile to assuage our consciences. It’s a mindset, a generosity of spirit that takes time to look out for the needs of others so that we are able to do as many good deeds as we can (v 18). But it is also future-oriented. Taking the words of Jesus to heart, it stores up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20), understanding that God’s kingdom, not ours, is what will last.
Lord, you have given us everything we need in Jesus to live a life that pleases you and supports others. Help me to resist the lie that says I need more. Give me a generous heart towards those I meet. May my money and time build your kingdom. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.