How to BE Rich (When You Already Are)

A sermon idea based on 1 Timothy 6:6-19.

1 Timothy 6:6-19 NRSV

[6] Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; [7] for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; [8] but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. [9] But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. [10] For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

[11] But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. [12] Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. [13] In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you [14] to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, [15] which he will bring about at the right time— he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. [16] It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

[17] As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. [18] They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, [19] thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Angle

The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…

Most of us are already rich, so the question isn’t how those people should handle their wealth, but rather how we should handle our own wealth in a way that honors the heart and purposes of Jesus. That means cultivating contentment, generosity, and right priorities.

Anchor

Information about the text that matters to the message…

This passage divides itself nicely into three distinct areas of advice for how to “be” rich (not how to get rich) in this present world.

1. Cultivate contentment. (vs. 6-10)

One of my favorite quotes is from the great theologian, Mary Poppins, who said, “Enough is as good as a feast.

The problem is that we struggle to grasp the concept of “enough.” It seems like we never have quite enough to feel secure and significant.

This passage, however, encourages us to cultivate confidence in what we possess spiritually in our walk with God and having the necessities.

The author even backs up and looks at the corruption caused by the love of money in the history of humankind. War, famine, poverty, and a thousand other problems flow out of the pursuit of money, which is why we never exalt any humanly-devised economic system (capitalism, socialism, etc.) to the level of being inspired by God.

At the end of the day, humans simply can’t get enough, and as a result, people get hurt.

2. Pursue spiritual wealth first. (vs. 11-16)

Timothy is urged not to chase money because when money becomes the cause for which we live, the love of God and the love of other people are edged out. Six different virtues, all more valuable than physical possessions, are laid out as worthy of pursuit:

  • righteousness
  • godliness
  • faith
  • love
  • endurance
  • gentleness

Ultimately, being like Christ is our goal, and he perfectly embodied these virtues while possessing very little in the way of money.

3. Develop real generosity. (vs. 17-19)

We who are rich must be “ready to share.” That is, we should develop a readiness to respond to the needs that we see around us.

Generosity makes us more like God. It also detaches our hearts from our possessions. That is, it loosens our grip, which gives us even greater freedom to pursue spiritual wealth.

Application

The big call-to-action in the message…

Instead of looking around at those rich people, measure the ways in which you are already rich. Then, determine that you will trust in God, not money, to grow within you the virtues that matter far more than physical possessions. And lastly, be ready to give to those in need because a readiness to share frees us from our attachment to temporal things.

 

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About the Cover Art: Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash.

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