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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

TRUST THE LIVING GOD

1 Tim 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

In order for men and women to be believe and accept the hope of eternal salvation offered by God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, they must place their complete, unwavering trust in Him. They must be found righteous in His sight, and obedient to His will. Here we have the two alternatives, from which all human beings must choose, during life here on earth. We can choose to place our trust in uncertain riches, ...(or) in the living God. No doubt there were some members of the church of Christ in Ephesus, that were rich is this world's goods. No doubt there were also, within this body of Christ, false teachers contending that a covetous, unholy desire for personal wealth was acceptable in the sight of God. Because of this, Paul saw the need for them to learn, and obey, this scriptural message. He told Timothy to charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches.

By example, this is the message that all Christians need to hear, understand, and obey today. James, in his epistle, tells us just how unsure, uncertain, and untrustworthy the accumulation of worldly riches are to men and women of the world. He compares riches to the flower of the grass, which blooms, withers, and soon shall pass away (James 1:10). Many other scriptures teach the same lesson. Labor not to be rich: ...for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven (Prov. 23:4-5). The inspired writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that men and women will never be satisfied with riches, and, that time laboring for them is also vanity (Eccl. 4:8). In His "Parable of the Sower," Jesus tells us that riches are as thorns that can choke the word God out of our minds, not allow us to receive it, and will not allow us to be fruitful as Christ's followers (Matt. 13:22).

Two things often happen to those that are rich in this world. First they may become high-minded. They may develop a self-pride that makes them see others that are less fortunate as inferior to them. Wealth does not bring us closer to God, or to the eternal salvation, that He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ. Riches are one of many "talents" given by God, over which men and women are required to exercise stewardship, that is acceptable in His sight. Secondly, those that are given riches often place their trust in them. Riches, Paul tells us, are uncertain. Jesus' "Parable of A Foolish Rich Man" vividly brings this to our attention. In that teaching, Jesus said thata certain rich man had ...much goods laid up for many years, sufficient enough that he could take it easy, eat, drink, and be merry for the rest of his life. However, that very night he died and left all that he had to his heirs. So (it will be with) he (or she) that places their trust in uncertain riches of the world - that layeth up treasures for himself (or herself), and is not rich toward God (See Luke 12:16-21).

Being rich one day does not assure the same richness tomorrow. What is gained over a lifetime can, and, for various reasons, often does, vanish away overnight. Advanced technology, the inflation of currency, and governmental intervention, often destroy riches that took years to accumulate. And even when obtained, they have no value to the one that possesses them. Riches have no lasting value beyond life on earth. Unless given away righteously, serving those in need, riches are valueless. Eternal value lies only in using the God-given wealth, as good stewards, by demonstrating a caring love for others having physical needs, and supporting the cause of Christ, by contributing to the teaching of God's word to those having spiritual needs. But by trusting in the living God, and by compassionately using this world's goods to fill the physical and spiritual needs of others, a faithful Christian truly demonstrates the love of God in him (or her) (1 John 3:17).

Considering these spiritual truths, Paul gives all Christians this admonition: that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate. Whether rich or poor, all Christians have the God-given responsibility to, readily and willingly, do good works for the benefit of others, and to bring glory to our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Doing so, they lay up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. Trust the living God!