June 9, 2021
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches… They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share… so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV
As a pastor of the church, occasionally members who had accumulated wealth would ask me what the Bible has to say about being rich. Old Testament history associated wealth with God’s favor, but Jesus told his disciples that it is nearly impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, with the caveat that all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). Here, Paul expands on the problem: it’s the love (craving) of money that causes us to sin and wander from our faith (verse 10). So what’s the solution? Verses 17-19 outline how to overcome the trappings of wealth. First, our hope must be solidly rooted in our Savior (money will never save us). Secondly, we are to foster a generous attitude toward others. Thirdly, we are to leverage our wealth to do good works for the kingdom. And the reward is true life—wealth is counterfeit.
In our 20th century, Truett Cathymen stands out for me as a godly example of one who was unencumbered by their wealth. The founder of Chick-fil-A followed a policy of investing in and developing the next generation to grow God’s kingdom. It started with his employees and expanded to troubled youth through his WinShape Foundation. And he invested much of his time to ensure sustainability. Despite accumulating over 4 billion in net worth at his passing (age 93), Cathy lived within his means and stayed on course to the finish line. That’s true life!
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling