Monday, February 4, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #24

1 Tim. 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

Bro. Clarence Walker used to say that two things can destroy a preacher: women and money. I think this was very good advice. I don't know whether someone taught this to him or whether he just saw it in preachers as he grew older, but I remember it well; and it would do every preach well to remember these two culprits.

There is nothing wrong with women, and there is nothing wrong with money in themselves. The problem comes with the wrong use or the wrong attitude about them. Paul here instructs young Timothy to charge those who are rich not to be high-minded. I suppose this is a very likely temptation for those who are rich, not that I would know from personal experience.

There will be some people in the church who have a little money. Sometimes a church will have some rich people. If so, it is the preacher's job to remind them from time to time not to let their money go to their heads. This is not easy for a young preacher to do. Those with money usually speak with authority and act with authority, but there is no authority greater than the word of God. We must all be humble in attitude one toward the other.

All riches belong to the Lord, so we have no claim to authority for it. All good and perfect gifts come from above (James 1:17), wisdom comes from above (James 3:15). that is why Paul tells Timothy to charge people to trust in the living God, who gives us all things to enjoy. Everything we enjoy (little or much) comes from God.

Timothy is to instruct the rich to be rich in good works. Notice he does not ask the rich to give up their riches--there is nothing wrong with being rich. He just charges them to recognize the riches that we have in the living God. He also is to instruct the believers who are rich that they should be willing to distribute, or to help others with their riches and not horde it themselves. They are to be willing to communicate, or keep in touch with the church in such a way that they know when a need arises so that they may help those who are less fortunate.

Verse 19 goes on to say that the rich should lay up for themselves a good foundation, a spiritual foundation against the coming day of judgment, so that they may lay hold on eternal life; that is, not to lay hold on this life but to let it go and look for much better things to come through the promise that is in Christ Jesus.

Rich men may well lay claim to the world, but the world is not theirs. It belongs to those who are meek, seeking Christ for their riches, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith. I am not rich in the things of the world, but I know that I am rich in spiritual blessings of God. One day I will see an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away, one that is preserved in Heaven for me (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Once the preacher and all believers in the church get their minds off their worldly riches and onto God's riches, the churches of the Lord will have revival.

1 comment:

Bob & Sandra's Place said...

Bro. Wolfe,

These insights are a great blessing. Good reminders for us preachers, no matter how long one may have been in the ministry.

Bro. Bob Hugan