In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
The books of 1st and 2nd Timothy, as well as Titus, are referred to as Pastoral Letters. This is because they are full of advice on how to pastor a church. Today, we look into 1st Timothy, written by Paul, just prior to his final Roman imprisonment. The letter holds many lessons that are just as much relevant for us today as they were then to the Ephesian Church.
There is warning about false teachers (1:3-11)(4:1-16), teaching about the importance of prayer (2:1-7), pastoral care to the young, old, widow, elders, and servants (5:1- 6:2)….and much more! As you read through 1st Timothy, take note of what we can learn from this letter. Also, give special attention to Paul’s words of instruction to the wealthy people of Ephesus in chapter 6. Meditate on 6:17-19.
Tuesday: What is wealth?
On the mission to determine wealth, I discovered that there are many facets of wealth. Webster defines wealth as a large amount of something. It could be money or possessions, information, resources, etc.
Let’s compare two ‘wealthy’ characters of the Bible.
In Genesis (13:2, 24:35) we learn that Abraham was wealthy. He was very blessed by earthly possessions, even to the point of being overwhelmed by them. However, we learn in Isaiah (51:2) that Abraham was blessed above and beyond the blessing brought by any material possession. If we stand before Abraham today and ask what his most precious wealth was, I doubt there would even be the slightest mention of livestock or silver or gold. Abraham’s priorities were in line and he knew the richest blessings given by God were not ones that would pass away.
The infamous king of Babylon. It is hard to consider wealth and material possession without this man popping into your mind. He reigned for 43 years over Babylon, erecting a palace that is often considered the most magnificent build that ever existed. 14 square miles, surrounded by a brick wall 300 feet tall, 250 towers, the Hanging Gardens, a golden image of Baal and the Golden Table (both weighing over 50,000 lbs of solid gold)…it is hard to image the splendor. However, Nebuchadnezzer was far from the happiest man alive. All throughout the book of Daniel, we can read about the troubles of Babylon’s wealthy king. The problem? Earthly wealth does not contain happiness!
Wednesday: God-Given Wealth
Read Ecclesiastes chapter 5. We will focus on 5:19, 20. Solomon authored Ecclesiastes later in his life. Much of the book is a reflection of his life, much of which was lived without God. In these two verses, Solomon sums up God-given wealth. Someone who is wealthy is not automatically guilty of chasing earthly wealth. God blesses his people in different ways. Solomon reminds us that it is all about perspective. How do you view the things that God has blessed you with? Possessions should never be a source of joy but rather a reason for rejoicing. We can be content with what we have w hen we realize that God has given us exactly what He wants us to have and with Him, we have all we will ever need.
Thursday: Giving Beyond Our 10%
Giving to God should be proportional and doesn’t always include monetary giving.
1. Proportional giving: Read the following verses giving attention to what they say about the amount we should be giving. (remember that these verses speak of giving, not tithing….giving is anything given beyond tithing)
God’s word will never instruct you to go into debt while giving. He asks that we give according to what we have.
2. Giving without money: We are required to serve others. We should seek out the gifts that God has given us and search to know how God desires us to use them to serve. God will give us what we need to carry out the responsibility He has for us, according to His will, not ours.
Friday: Instructions for Giving
Look up the following verses. Consider what each verse is saying to you. Record in a scripture journal so that you can pray over each instruction and refer back later to remind you to keep a giving heart.