God’s instructions for the rich.
Welcome to the Light of Christ weekly podcast. Light of Christ Anglican Church is located in Georgetown, Texas at MLK and University Avenue. We are a modern expression of the ancient faith. You can learn more about us at lightofchristgeorgetown.org.
Did you know that today, over 50% of the world's wealth is owned by only 1% of the world's population? That's up from 42.5% in 2008. Another shocking statistic, although this number is decreasing over time, thank God, that in 2011 45% of all child deaths were due to malnutrition. And in 2016, almost a billion people suffer from chronic under nourishment. When we think of the 1%, we often think of them. But the fact is, if you make $33,000 or more you are part of the 1%. What does the Bible tell us who have on how to live in this world?
Our sermon soundbite for today comes from 1 Timothy chapter six, beginning at verse 17 through verse 19.
“As for the rich in this present age,” that's us, now notice the qualifier “rich in this present age.” ”Charge them not to be haughty,” not to be proud. That was the rich man's issue, ultimately, was his pride. “Charge them not to be proud nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches.”
So there's two problems here. There's this pride and there's this hope being placed in riches. See, this is what we say. We say, “I did it. It's mine and it will make me happy and secure.” “I did it. It's mine. It will make me happy and secure.” And Paul is saying, no, don't be proud. Don't set your hope on these riches which are uncertain, but, this is important, “but on God.” But set your hope on God. And I love this part, “who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”
So we go from “I did it, it's mine, it will make me happy and secure,” to “He gave it, it's His and He gives these good gifts for our enjoyment.” That's the only thing that will unlock a proud heart and greedy heart is the generosity of God. It's the generosity of God. That's all that will do it. And do we have a generous God? We do. We have a God that has given us so many wonderful and good things to enjoy.
Notice that this view of material world and wealth is not a negative view. He's saying that God has given us these things, to enjoy at that! We can enjoy them. And so viewing God as a generous God is what can unlock our heart because God hasn't only given us material wealth, but He has given us something much more precious, Himself. His own Son on the cross.
When we receive that love and mercy of God… Our hearts are like a stagnant pool. You know what happens to a ... what happens at the blue hole right now where there's no water flowing? It's disgusting, right? It's festering all of these bacteria. If you go and swim in there you will get sick. That's our heart when it's closed up in pride. The people Amos was talking to, like the people that Jesus is talking to, like us. And it's that same door to our heart that opens to the generosity of God that allows us to open up our heart to those in need. It's the very same door. It's when we realize that God has been generous to us. It's only then that we can live in generosity towards others. Only then.
So “set your hope not on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly provides us everything to enjoy.” Then he finishes up here. “They're to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” What does it mean to really live? It means to be generous like God has been generous to us. That's really living. Really living is to not be rich in material possessions, but to be rich in good works. To take what God has given us and to prioritize giving it away. That is true security. That is really living.
So brothers and sisters, I'll close with what Paul says, “Thus storing up treasures for themselves as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” What does it mean to truly live? It means to be generous as our God is generous to us.
Thank you for listening to the Light of Christ weekly podcast. Let us end our time together with a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. You can find this prayer For the Harvest of Lands and Waters on page 653.
O gracious Father, you open your hand and fill all living things with plenteousness: Bless the lands and waters, and multiply the harvests of the world; send forth your breath, and renew the face of the earth; show your loving-kindness, that our land may yield its increase; and save us from selfish use of what you provide, that the poor and needy may give thanks to your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.