Thursday, January 15, 2015

Taking hold of life

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.  1 Timothy 6:17-19

Taking hold of life that is truly life…Sounds inviting, doesn’t it?  It is attainable and simple really, it’s just not easy!

The Apostle Paul was mentoring Timothy, a young pastor of the premier church in the New Testament, the Church of Ephesus. Many people in the port cities where Timothy was a pastor were coming to Christ and embracing new life through Him.  Parenthetically, this was not solely due to Timothy’s gifting, but rather due the church’s giving. Their generosity fueled their growth.

These port cities were first century epicenters of trade and wealth. Paul, who planted many of these churches, knew that even back then, rich people faced unique challenges as they embraced Jesus as their Lord. Just like today, they were vulnerable to the dizzying effects of money -- so he gave counsel to his young protégé on how to pastor these people. 

Many people assume the Bible is all about restrictions resulting in leading a boring life. Trust me when I say that God wants you to live a joy-filled, Christ-centered, eternally significant life. The reality is that every command in Scripture has two inherent motives behind it: God’s protection and God’s provision.

Everything we have is a gift from God. He’s generous, and He wants us to be generous, too. The Bible says, “A generous person will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25 NIV). Doesn’t that verse just make you smile? There’s a reason why Jesus taught that it is more blessed to give than receive.

The bottom line is this: God tells us in His Word that life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured. In the coming weeks, we will explore this reality further in our Generous Living series.  I cannot wait to journey together.  If last week is any indicator, God has some great things in store for us!

I’ll see you this weekend!  I love being your pastor!