Stewardship – 1 Timothy 6:17-19 05/24/2020

Stewardship – 1 Timothy 6:17-19 05/24/2020

We’re wrapping up our study of “the Christian Life” this week. Certainly there are other aspects that we haven’t touched on, but I think we’ve hit the high points. I truly hope that you’ve been as challenged as I have; that is, I hope you’ve been as convicted as I have!

The final topic in this series is how our attitudes toward our money fit into the Christian life. This can reveal a great deal about our attitudes toward God and His faithfulness. Now, money isn’t inherently evil, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a surplus, even though we often here it quoted that, “Money is the root of all evil.” That’s actually an inaccurate quote. For the correct quotation, I invite you to look up 1 Timothy 6:10. When we love anything more than we love God we’re going to find that we’re in trouble.

The thing is, money, especially, has risks associated with possessing it. Our passage is 1 Timothy 6:17-19, which, as usual, I invite you to look up at your leisure. In this passage Paul avoids the two extremes of world-denying asceticism and self-centered indulgence.[1] Here we find an admonition to the wealthy,[2] which will frankly apply to most of us. Paul warns against the danger of wealth producing arrogance.[3] When we’ve earned enough money to be comfortable, we can begin to feel that our wealth is the product of our own efforts and abilities, and is therefore something that we can feel proud of, even feeling superior to those with fewer financial resources.

That’s not a correct view of things.

Before we go any further I need to clarify: if you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, this topic has nothing to do with you. You need to address the problem of sin keeping you separated from your heavenly Father first. We have the promise of forgiveness and cleansing in 1 John 1:8-9.

Getting back to our topic, certainly most of us could use a bit more cash, but be careful! We need to be thinking rightly about wealth. We do not lose our wealth by being generous.[4] By using our resources for God’s purposes, the passage says we’re actually laying it away in heaven.[5] In a sense, we actually are taking it with us.

The simple reality is all we have is a gift from the Father. Our wealth is given for His purposes, and based on His wisdom. He does not explain why one person gets more “stuff” than another, and in my experience God never explains Himself. Instead, He asks us to trust Him. There is a danger to having more possessions, we’re tempted to place our confidence in the wealth God has granted[6] instead of in the God who granted it.

Actually, wealth provides both a temptation and an opportunity. Realizing that God has provided our wealth for a purpose should naturally result in using those resources according to His purposes.[7] This is consistent with Jesus’ own teachings about money[8] in Matthew 6:19-21. We know that everything we have comes from God[9] and, really, remains His. In a very real sense He allows us to use and manage His stuff.[10] All that we’ve gained, our abilities to produce wealth, and the wealth itself, all comes from God.

Now, as soon as we start to talk about money, questions around “the tithe” come up. I wish that I could, in good conscience, tell you that all you have to do is tithe. I wish I could tell you that, if you’ll give 10% of everything you earn, then you’re “good” as far as God is concerned when it comes to money. It’s not that simple. I realize that many godly and well respected teachers teach the tithe. Not me.

It is all God’s money. Rather than asking, “How much should I give?” we should really be asking, “How much can I keep?” Certainly, we have needs that must be met. God knows that. But there comes a time when further accumulation of things, possessions, wealth, no longer bring more happiness.[11] There may come a time when God does ask for you to give sacrificially, but I have to tell you, that’s between you and God. You seek first the Kingdom of God. Give as He directs, not as how your pastor may direct. At the same time, the accumulation of wealth should never become the end goal, it’s only a means to an end.[12] Really, in general we should seek to be content with where we are in life.

Actually, this isn’t about giving at all. Giving money to the church is simply one expression of what the Christian life is about. This is about our attitude toward money.[13] Has your wealth served to separate you from God, or is it simply one more vehicle you use to serve Him? I’m not asking you to give the church more money. I’m not encouraging you to give less money either. I am encouraging you to do what I’ve been encouraging for the last 16 weeks; be obedient to what the Lord is leading you to do.

[1] Thomas D. Lea and Hayne P. Griffin, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, vol. 34, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 175. [2] Ralph Earle, 1 Timothy, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, (gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 388. [3] Ralph Earle, 1 Timothy, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, (gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 388. [4] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), 368. [5] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), 368. [6] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), 366. [7] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), 367. [8] Ralph Earle, 1 Timothy, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, (gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 389. [9] Michael Lukaszewski, The Church Leader’s Guide to Engaging Your Congregation, (Church Fuel free download) 7. [10] Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle: Discovering the Secret of Joyful Giving, (LifeChange Books, Colorado Springs, CO.: 2001), 23. [11] Michael Lukaszewski, The Church Leader’s Guide to Engaging Your Congregation, (Church Fuel free download) 8. [12] Michael Lukaszewski, The Church Leader’s Guide to Engaging Your Congregation, (Church Fuel free download) 8. [13] Michael Lukaszewski, The Church Leader’s Guide to Engaging Your Congregation, (Church Fuel free download) 8.

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