We might not consider ourselves wealthy but we live in one of the most affluent societies in the world. And that brings with it certain inherent dangers – most notably pride and independence. We can come to think that our possessions are simply the result of our effort and ingenuity. And we can come to depend upon these things and find our identity in them. Timothy was pastoring in the very affluent city of Ephesus. And Paul urged Timothy to address these issues with the Ephesian church (1 Timothy 6:17-18).
Money and possessions are an unavoidable part of life and God created everything for us to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). But how do we keep these things from capturing our hearts? Paul gives an antidote. He says that we are “to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” Giving is antidote for greed. We should give of our time and of our energies and of our money. Yes, our money is intended to provide for our needs. But by giving, I remind myself that God has also provided me with resources so that I can help others.
There are certainly lots of avenues to practice giving. You could give to a charitable organization through your work. You could give to a neighbor in need. But Scripture is clear that the priority of our giving should be the family of God (Galatians 6:10).
Sheri & I have been married for 21 years. And from the beginning of our marriage we committed to giving at least 10% of our income to the church. And through the years, we have tried to increase that percentage. I like to think that our giving has helped to meet needs and that it has been a benefit to others. But the reality is that we needed to give for our own sake. That pattern has kept us grounded and has helped us combat our own tendencies toward greed and discontent. It has been a constant reminder that God has given us everything we have and that we are stewards of that money and we will give an account.
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