That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 1 Timothy 6:18

Here, Paul commands the wealthy to be rich in good deeds and sacrificial giving. He calls them to add to their wealth another type of wealth. A man’s opportunities to do good to others increase with the abundance of his riches. In one sense, the wealthy reflect God in a way that the poor cannot. God is also wealthy—as he owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10); he owns it all. Yet, with his wealth, he sacrificially gives to meet the needs of the world. God gave his Son. His Son gave up everything and became poor so others might be rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). This should also be true of wealthy believers, as they seek to be rich in good deeds and sacrificial giving.

Certainly, we see something of these types of good deeds in Lydia and Dorcas. Lydia was the first convert to the Philippian church. She was a wealthy seller of purple clothes. She used her home to host the early church (Acts 15:36, 16:40). Similarly, Dorcas, a believer who lived in Joppa, used her wealth to help the poor (Acts 9:36).

Wealthy believers must also give sacrificially. Sadly, statistics say that the more a person increases in wealth, the less they give. “A 1989 poll showed that households earning under $10,000 gave away 5.5 per cent; those making $50,000 to $60,000 gave away 1.7 per cent.” Though an antiquated survey, it is still true today. Most Christians act just like the world when they gain wealth—they buy a better house, car, and entertainment system. However, God gives to us, in part, so we can give to others. The rich in this world must remember they are a great responsibility. They must not only be rich in good deeds, but they must be generous and willing to share, which refers to the heart. We must develop a generous heart that loves to give to others. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

How much should we give? What principles should guide our giving?

Unfortunately, many in the church think that we are only required to give our tithe—ten per cent—to the Lord. However, Scripture teaches that New Testament believers are not under the Old Testament law which includes the tithe.

( But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.) Galatians 3:25

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14

 A tithe is just a great place for us to start as New Covenant believers.

Scripture teaches that believers should always strive to grow in their giving.

2 Corinthians 8:7  says, “Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.”

In the same way that we always aim to grow in trusting God, sharing God’s Word, knowing God, and loving God and others, we should always aim to grow in our giving.

This is particularly true when God prospers us financially. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Paul taught about giving weekly offerings. The Scriptures teach that one should give “as he may prosper.” When God increases our income, he means for us to give more to the kingdom. In all situations, we must aim to be rich or abundant in our good works and our giving to the Lord.

Author: Godfrey Gregg

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