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26th August 2012
When we expire on Earth, we can take nothing with us. We arrived naked and we leave with nothing – not even a carry-on case! But, as Christians, we can invest in eternity and store up treasure in heaven (see 1 Timothy 6:19 and Matthew 6:20). This isn't like treasure here on Earth, which can be lost in a moment; it's unseen treasure that can never be spoiled or lost.
The greatest treasure we can have it to be with Jesus for all eternity, seeing him face-to-face. But the Bible also talks of an inheritance for those who are in Christ and rewards for work done in faith (see 1 Peter 1:3-4, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10). Some of the ways in which we store up this eternal treasure are outlined in this passage in 1 Timothy, where the apostle Paul writes that we are "to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share" (v18).
The good news of Jesus is spread through word and deed: God is good and has been good to us, so now we reflect that goodness in our actions to others. Every kind action expresses the gospel, and as a church we want to find multiple ways to help and bless our community, such as the foodbank. We don't want to just tell people of God's love (though that is important); we want to demonstrate it through actions, or as Paul writes here, by being "rich in good deeds".
Just as God has been very good to us, he has also been incredibly generous to us: Jesus gave himself for us, laying down his life for each one of us. His generosity cost him everything! Since God is so generous, we need to be the same. Being generous can be costly and inconvenient, but is part of investing in eternity and, as it says in Proverbs, those who are generous will be blessed – it really is better to give than to receive!
Linked to generosity, we should also be willing to share. It can be easy to give away old stuff that we no longer need or want, but how good are we at sharing the possessions we value, or our time?
The only way we can be rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share, is by God's grace, and this is what the apostle Paul brings us back to at the end of this letter, writing: "Grace be with you." (v21) As John Stott says, "They would not be able in their own strength to reject error and fight for truth, to run from evil and pursue goodness, to renounce covetousness and cultivate contentment and generosity, and in these Christian responsibilities to remain faithful to the end. Only divine grace could keep them. So at the letter's conclusion, as at its beginning (1:2), the apostle wishes for them above all else an experience of the transforming and sustaining grace of God."
Verses: 1 Timothy 6:17-21
Food for thought:
Posted by Santino Hamberis