Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Paul finishes up the letter to Timothy with encouragement and exhortation. Those of us who are wealthy in this life’s finances are the special object of these remarks. It isn’t that their wealth is bad, wrong or evil as some might suggest, but rather that it provides both an opportunity and a danger.
The danger is that the wealthy person neglects the faith, thinking that their problems are over and that they have the tiger by the tail; some might even become stingy and fear sharing their abundance with others in real need. Timothy is urged to insist that the wealthy keep their priorities straight, placing value on their work as Christ’s humble servants, rather than regarding their worldly wealth as paramount.
When you think about it, even for those of us who aren’t wealthy as such, it is easy to slip away from God during times when everything is going well. We get the notion that we are in great shape, things are cooking right along and we can easily forget that God is the real source of our blessings, not us. One can only imagine the level of temptation for one who is truly well off.
The opportunity is that there is a great deal of good that can be done with a financial fortune. Paul’s message is that these people need to be rich in good deeds, not just in money.
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.
Grace be with you all.
These last two verses are Paul’s closing comments, personal in nature for Timothy himself. Notice that Paul returns to the mission that Timothy is on: Guard what you have been entrusted with. Timothy is to “turn away” from godless chatter and those false teachings that have caused some to leave the faith. No more of this false teaching in Ephesus, don’t even listen to it!
May each of us have wisdom to follow Paul’s commands!