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Obvious Avoidance

1 Timothy 6:17-21 17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. 20 Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. 21 Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness.

May God’s grace be with you all.

When the banks went down a few weeks back some people's lives were ruined. Extreme havoc was the result for those trusting in their material wealth and lives were impacted forever because of the foundation of trusting in their wealth. Wealth brings a lot of influence, position, glory, and many other things that are mainly "worldly" generated. All of those things will not last, but at the time they seem to show a good reason to build a foundation on. Paul told Timothy to teach those who were rich to not be proud and not to trust their money, which is unreliable. I can tell it is very difficult to not be proud when you have the ability to buy just about anything without thinking about it. That puts a person in a position to call all of their shots in life and that is a natural lure. Paul's words are more a warning than a reason, even though he writes of the results which are very obvious. Keep in mind that Timothy was pastoring the people he was teaching and Paul was giving him foundational truths to pass on to those Timothy was teaching.

There is also a very different way to take this teaching that is also hazardous to our growth in the Lord. We should never get to the point in our faith walk where we believe we can manipulate God by choosing less when we live our lives. God sees the heart and a man-made attempt at being humble or lowly is the result of a weak attempt to be righteous. There are religions that push that kind of teaching and the supposed super-religious attitude falls short of God's standard of living. We cannot manipulate God by "doing" religious acts that make us appear to be more religious and God sees right through those attempts at holiness. So the warning is not for the rich to become poor, but to have the right perspective on where their wealth comes from and keep it in the right context. Pauls tells Timothy to teach them to be rich in good works and generous to those in need. In other words, use their money to do good things for those who need it. I look at this as a rich person who is a conduit for their wealth to allow God to bless through it.

We can make the obvious assumption that their realizing their wealth comes from God changes their perspective on why they got that wealth. They in turn allow God to control their wealth and thus keep their wealth from controlling them. God gives wealth to some people and those who are born-again should look at their wealth differently than those who are not born-again. They are not rich to manipulate people or positions. They are not rich to get what they want, but use it to bless what God wants. They will be very aware of those who need help financially and respond as God leads and expect nothing in return. I have known rich people who are like this and I have seen first-hand how God has blessed them and used their wealth to bless. Some rich believers support ministries that are wide-reaching and are very active in the gospel reaching a lost and dying world.

Paul goes on to tell Timothy to "guard" what God has given to him. Paul tells Timothy to avoid godless and foolish discussions with those who oppose him with "so-called" knowledge. Paul had experience with converts falling off into questionable lifestyles and teachings that distracted them from the foundational truth of the gospel and his warning for Timothy was from experience. It takes more than an Obvious Avoidance to keep us from straying from the truth if everything gets out of place. Wealth can lead us astray if we don't keep it in the right perspective. God's truth can get misconstrued if we try to use the knowledge from the Bible for our own gain. Paul said it well when he said we should be guarded and keep God as our foundation and all of the other stuff will fall into place as it should. Of course, that is more than an Obvious Avoidance. It is pure truth from God's Word.

The Pilgrimage Continues.

David Warren

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