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Taking pride in our wealth and success

Columbia Biblical Studies: Tuesday, August 19
Columbia Biblical Studies: Tuesday, August 19
Karen Arnold

Today’s bible study is 1 Timothy 6:17: Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

We all know them. Most of us do not like them. Many of us find them to be arrogant and proud. A few of us are them. These are the people who are arrogant and who seek wealth in the present world. From the time we are little children, our parents want us to be something. They want us to be successful and to lead comfortable lives.

Throughout school, we are encouraged to learn, to complete our education, and to make something of ourselves. In college and grad school we choose our paths toward medicine, teaching, social work, engineering, architecture, or any of myriad careers and professions. And we are all living with the ultimatum to be something and make something of ourselves and to succeed.

And, yes, most of us do, to a greater or lesser degree, succeed. In order to sustain ourselves and become independent, we have to pursue a vocation. For almost all of us, this is the means to providing housing, food and clothing, education for our children, a few luxuries and a secure retirement. Have you ever noticed that when you first meet someone you rarely ask, ‘What kinds of music do you like?’ but rather, ‘What do you do?’

It seems that almost everyone does something. Many people are so associated with their jobs or professions that they are actually defined by them. Maybe you and I are among them. Throughout my life I have, to some degree, been defined by what I have done. I have been the mother, the nurse, the teacher the counselor and the minister. I have also been the housekeeper, the cook, the writer, the wife, the friend. People in my life know me in different capacities, some of which overlap, yet are all defined by what I do.

But these are things that are done here on earth. And we are, rightfully and sensibly, concerned about them. But an even greater concern should be putting our hope in God and seeking the wealth of His kingdom. Personally, I do not believe in what some refer to as prosperity Christianity. I have known too many people who attend church faithfully and pray consistently to fall into poverty and need. I believe that God will grant us the health, the intelligence, wisdom, knowledge and strength to do out necessary work here on earth, but will not provide financially for us.

Many churches have ministries that do help people financially, and this is a very good thing. But people often need a fishing pole far more than they need a fish. The fish might be dinner right now, but the fishing pole might be a means to provide dinner for years and years to come. We are all familiar with the phrase, a hand up rather than a hand out.

God will always give us a hand up to seek the wealth of His salvation. He promises to richly provide everything. But that is at a later time when our worldly lives are completed and we become members of His kingdom. We may have eighty years or so here on earth; we may have an eternity in the kingdom of God. Let us always keep our priorities and needs in sight, yet never lose sight of the glorious kingdom of God. Make us ever aware that our accomplishments and successes are fleeting, but that our heavenly Father is eternal. And help us to always find time to eek the kingdom of God through our prayers, our moments of solitude and our ever-increasing awareness of his goodness and love.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentaryby John MacArthur, Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor

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