How can RICH BELIEVERS truly SERVE GOD? “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Tim. 6:17-19)
Just before Apostle Paul concluded his first letter to his spiritual son Timothy, he remembered that there were many rich believers in the church in Ephesus, where Timothy was pastoring. Some followers of Christ had a lot more money in their possession than others. The church in Ephesus was unlike the early days of the church in Jerusalem where "all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need" (Acts 2:44-45).
It is a known fact that money has incredible power to create feelings of pride, superiority, and self-sufficiency (v. 17), and people of means have to learn to look beyond their money to God, the ultimate source of wealth. So, Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that he should command the rich people to do five specific things so that they can truly serve God alone:
- They should not be proud of their riches, but be like Christ (see Phil. 2:5–8).
- They should not trust in their riches that may not last forever but in God alone (see Luke 12:21).
- They should be rich in doing good works and store up true riches in heaven (see Matt. 6:20).
- They should be ready to give generously for worthwhile causes (see Eph. 4:28).
- They should be willing to share with people who are less fortunate (see Deut. 24:18, 22).
The great British evangelist John Wesley’s rule of life was, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” Someone has once said: “we make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”. Freely we have received from God; so we should freely give (Matt. 10:8). Our natural tendency is to grasp what we have instead of freely giving to those in need. When God gives us material riches, we should not forget God (Deut. 8:11), rather, we should remind ourselves where riches come from and how much we should be thankful for. So, we should love the Giver - who is God (James 1:17) - more than the gifts that we receive! When we are focused only in owning stuff, it can lead to spiritual loss as the more we have, we will forget our need and even our desire for God.