Paul is continuing to counsel Timothy regarding earthly wealth. He is comparing what Timothy, and every believer, has against what the world has to offer. I wonder what compelled him to focus on this topic.
Like yesterday, I started reading with preconceived ideas of what our reading was going to be about. I guess the heading in my bible set me up that way. This section is titled “Fight the Good Fight of Faith.” But when reading this passage that is only the part of Paul’s message.
Paul just finished telling Timothy about how chasing after riches gets you into trouble. “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils” (verse 10). Paul didn’t leave that topic. Instead, he tells Timothy what to focus on instead. “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things; Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (verse 11). In essence, value these things more than money.
Then Paul reminds Timothy what he gained instead. Timothy has gained a relationship with Jesus which is SO much more valuable than earthly riches. Timothy is a child of THE King. “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen” (verses 15b-16). THAT is Who we have traded the world for! What a BARGAIN!!!
Yes, there are believers who have both Jesus and earthly riches. Paul shares with Timothy how to counsel those believers. The main point is to remind them that their money isn’t what offers them security; Jesus is. They are to be humble and do good with what God has blessed them with. Money hoarded has no eternal good. But riches shared in the works of God have eternal value. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Above all else, stand firm in the faith. Don’t get waylaid by chasing after things that don’t matter, including “knowledge.” I pondered this term for a few minutes. To me it speaks of getting so wrapped up in trying to understand and figure out ALL the nuances of scripture. For me, a prime example would be spending all your time trying to figure out exactly what is going to happen in the “end times” to the exclusion of everything else. Yes, I am excited about Jesus’ return, but me KNOWING every aspect of the process isn’t possible. We have clues but are still missing important keys that won’t be revealed until the right moment. Me dogmatically subscribing to one scenario and fighting for others to buy into my ideas profits me NOTHING. It also takes my focus off my daily relationship with Jesus. Sometimes it is enough to say, “I don’t know but that is ok because He does.”
I believe Paul’s closing message to Timothy is, “Don’t let the cares of this world swallow you up. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep fighting the good fight of faith.”
Thank You Father that I don’t have to know everything. Thank You that I can trust in You to take care of it all. My job is to “keep walking.” Keep trusting. Keep seeking. I need to snuggle in closer and leave the worrying to You. Yes, there are times when life tries to swallow me up but like the frog refusing to go down, as long as I hold on I KNOW victory is on the way. The stork will eventually pass out from lack of oxygen after all. Hold my hands when they get tired so I don’t let up and get eaten alive instead. “Help is on the way dear!” No! Help is already here!!! Thank You that I am NEVER alone in my struggles.