Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 1 Timothy 6:17
Paul commands the rich to not put their hope in wealth but in God. This is one of the problems with wealth. We tend to put our hope in it. We trust in our bank accounts—they provide us with peace of mind in an emergency. We trust in our jobs that provide us with money for our bank accounts. We tend to put our “faith” in the gifts instead of the Giver.
Why should we not put our hope in wealth?
Paul says that we shouldn’t put our hope in wealth because it is “uncertain.” It is uncertain because it tends to fly away.
Proverbs 23:5 says, “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”
They fly away for various reasons: Personally, as soon as our savings account starts to grow, something breaks down: we need to fix our car or something in our house. Sometimes they fly away when a person loses a job and must live off savings. Sometimes they fly away because we need to provide for a family member or meet somebody else’s need. It is good to remember that wealth is uncertain; it tends to fly away.
But also, wealth is uncertain because it is part of this “world.” The ESV translates it “this present age” (1 Timothy 6 and verse 17). This means that one day we will die and leave our wealth, or one day, this present world will pass away along with our wealth.
In Luke 12:13-21, the wealthy farmer thought he was secure because he stored up wealth in his barns; however, soon after, he died. Christ used this as a warning to not put our focus on wealth instead of God.
As we consider the passing nature of wealth, we must realize it isn’t something to put our faith in. We must put our hope in God who is the giver of wealth. He is our Shepherd, and we shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Because of this, Jesus taught that we should “seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto us” (Matt 6:33 paraphrase).
Application Question: How can we know if we are putting our hope in wealth or God?
We can discern this in two ways:
- First, we can tell by what we are seeking. Are we daily pursuing a deeper knowledge of God through his Word and fellowship with his saints? Are we seeking to further God’s kingdom by discipline and training others? Or are we on an endless pursuit of more wealth which is so uncertain?
- Secondly, we can tell by where we get our peace. Does our peace come from our job-security and wealth in the bank? Or does it come from our relationship with God?