The True Rich Life

The Rich True Life

Today is Day 33 in our six-week “Generosity Campaign” at Riverwood. This week, we have the pleasure of learning from Luke Anderson, one of Riverwood’s elders, as we conclude our “How to be Rich” series here on the Riverwood blog. So enjoy this closing Note from Luke, and may his words help you “take hold of that which is truly life.”

by Luke Anderson

This week, as we draw toward the close of our generosity campaign, we get to focus on 1 Timothy 6:19, which says, “thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”

In this verse, Paul is referring to the Jesus-followers he refers to in verse 18: “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” Reviewing passages like this shows us just how much of an intimate relationship God wants to have with us. God does not just want us to do commands X, Y, and Z to gain his approval. God wants an immersive, deep relationship with us on every level, conforming us daily to become more like His Son, Jesus Christ.

Let me explain. In this passage, Paul tells us in verse 18 that we as believers are to be rich in good works and to be generous and ready to share. These are great virtues to live by for anyone. However, Paul continues, showing us the why. In verse 19, he writes that these works of generosity allow us, as believers, to store up treasure for ourselves as a good foundation for the future. This is another way of saying, storing up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). Why is this important?

It comes down to worship.

Worship leads to the Rich Life

The Rich True LifeWe all have a purpose in life, which is to Worship God. Giving of our time, money, and resources are all forms of worshiping our Lord and Savior. With every paycheck, we have an opportunity to make a disciplined choice to submit to God and trust in his provision. As has been said during this generosity campaign, God does not need our money. But He does want our worship and a relationship with us!  Christ sacrificed so much for us that we can have this personal relationship with Him. Our giving of our money and our time removes us from our self-reliance and allows us to depend more on God. Giving should drive us closer to God.

This is what Paul means when he says, “storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future.” By investing our resources into Christ’s church, we are building not only our own faith but the ability to impact others for Christ as well. I can speak from experience that a strong foundation with God can make us unshakable in our faith when storms smash into our lives. God wants to share so much more in our lives. He wants to give us life in abundance! Through the discipline of daily faith in Him by reading His word, sacrificing our time, and giving of our finances, we grow daily to become more like Christ and “take hold of that which is truly life!”

Generous Sharing

How To Give - Generous Sharing

by Erin Bird

Today is Day 26 in our six-week/40 Day “Generosity Campaign.” I hope this has been a good-yet-challenging series for you, thus far. If you haven’t had a chance to do at least a couple of the “Generosity Activity” ideas we’ve been posting on social media, it’s not too late to do at least one of them. You can catch up on our Facebook page, Twitter feed, and/or Instagram account. We’ll be posting a few more ideas over the next couple of weeks. When you do a few of these Generosity Activities, you are helping yourself grow in generosity, so go ahead and do at least one of the ideas over the last couple of weeks in our campaign.

Speaking of growing in generosity, today’s passage from 1 Timothy 6:17-19 addresses this very idea.

The Power of “And”

Quick Reminder: we are in a series here on our blog called How to Be Rich based on 1 Timothy 6:17-19, which says…

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19, ESV)

Because we talked about being “rich in good works” last week, we are ready to look at the last phrase of verse 18: “to be generous and ready to share.”

As you know, the word “and” is a connector word. When you say “Jake and Grace,” you are acknowledging that the two of them go together. They are connected.

The same goes with this week’s phrase. When Paul is telling Timothy to instruct the wealthy people in his church on how to follow Jesus, he connects the words “generous” and “share.”

How To Give - Generous SharingIf you think about it, this makes sense. The dictionary defines generous as “giving more than expected.” But you could easily swap out the word “giving” and replace it with the word “sharing” – and it is still perfectly logical! The words generous and sharing are intricately linked.

I think too often, we limit the idea of “generous” to financial giving. But when you realize the word “generous” is tied to the word “sharing,” suddenly your concept of generosity expands. This means you are being generous when you…

  • give a cup of flour or a couple of eggs to a neighbor,
  • let someone borrow your extra car just sitting in your driveway,
  • bring a surprise coffee for a coworker,
  • text an encouraging word or a funny meme to a friend,
  • share a bit of insight in a mentoring or parenting relationship,
  • give a bowl of tomatoes you grew in your garden,
  • or talk about your faith in Jesus.

A Posture of Sharing

In week 1 of our How to Give series on Sundays, we saw from 2 Corinthians 9:1-5 that to truly be generous means we need to live with a “posture” of giving. We see that here in 1 Timothy as well. Paul tells us to be “ready to share.” Rather than be quick to anger, or quick to tease, or quick to avoid; to be like Jesus means we need to be quick to share, to have a posture of generosity, to be ready to give to someone in need.

So how can you be quick to display generosity this week through the act of sharing? Let me encourage you to be on the lookout for the opportunity to share something of your FIST (Finances, Influence, Skill, or Time) over the course of the next few days.

Rich in Good Works

Rich in Good Works

by Erin Bird

Good morning, afternoon, evening, or whenever you are reading this!

I hope you survived the downtime of Facebook and its sister apps this past Monday. I am rarely on Facebook anymore, so I didn’t know about the outage until I saw some news headlines. Based upon those headlines, it would seem that Facebook & Instagram being down for almost six hours is worse than COVID-19! In other news, productivity inexplicably jumped 37% this past Monday for a six-hour span.* 😁

As you hopefully know, we are in the middle of a six-week “Generosity Campaign.” Today (Oct 7) is Day 19, which means tomorrow is the midpoint of this “campaign.” If you’ve missed out on any of the “Generosity Activities” we’ve been posting on social media (maybe because Facebook was down for six hours?), be sure to go to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to get some ideas for how you are can show generosity.

Discipling Words for the Rich

Speaking of “showing generosity,” that is exactly what today’s phrase from 1 Timothy 6:17-19 is all about. In case you have forgotten (or missed previous installments), we have been looking at 1 Timothy 6:17-19 for the past few weeks as part of a series entitled “How to be Rich” (a supplement to our How to Give series we are doing from 2 Corinthians 9 on Sundays).

As a reminder, 1 Timothy 6:17-19 says:

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV)

Last week, Matt Townsley brilliantly wrote about placing our hope in God (who is reliable) rather than in money (which is FAR from reliable). This means we are ready for the first phrase of verse 18 – “they are to do good, to be rich in good works.”

Rich in Good WorksAs we get ready to talk about this phrase, I want to remind you these words are from the Apostle Paul in a letter to Timothy, pastor of the church in Ephesus (a church planted by Paul a few years prior). His letter is intended to encourage Timothy, but also provide training and tips to help Timothy disciple the people in his church. One of the last groups of people Paul tells Timothy to disciple are the rich in this present age.” So far he has told Timothy to help the wealthy to not be haughty, as well as trust in God rather than their income.

But then Paul instructs Timothy to take the discipleship of the wealthy even further. They aren’t just to give their money to good causes. They are to actually “do good.” They aren’t to just give their finances, but their whole FIST (Finances, Influence, Skills, & Time). And Paul defines  “do good” with the very next phrase: “to be rich in good works.”

A Different Kind of Rich

Have you ever heard someone talk about being “rich,” but they aren’t talking about money? Maybe they are “rich” because of the wonderful friendships they have. Or maybe they feel “rich” because of the awards they’ve been given, or the phenomenal experiences they’ve had traveling around the world. The point is, being “rich” isn’t relegated to just having a large bank account, a huge house, or a fancy car.

That is what Paul is getting at. He doesn’t want the wealthy families in Timothy’s church to get stuck with just a financial definition of “rich.” He wants them to see they can be rich in a different way as well. One of those ways is to be “rich in good works.”

Paul’s discipling advice to the rich is just as needed in our present-day and age. We are living in very divided times with people tired from the pandemic, from their packed schedules, from information overload, and from an overall fatigue that seems to be plaguing Americans. But rather than see this as a major bummer, we should see this as an opportunity. What a wonderful chance you and I have to bring life, relief, and joy to others who are feeling the fatigue! When you…

  • serve at the monthly Food Pantry,
  • or love on kids in the nursery on Sundays,
  • or make a meal for a neighbor,
  • or give someone a ride to work or school,
  • or send someone a thank-you note
  • or just listen to a friend share his or her struggles…

…you are being “rich in good works.”

But that’s not all. Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, that when we do these good deeds for others, it might lead them to give glory to God. (Matthew 5:16) So let’s show the people around us the love of Jesus through our time, energy, and efforts. May we not just bowl them over with a generous financial gift. Let’s also bowl them over through kind deeds, displaying what it means to “do good, to be rich in good works.”

*This is a fake statistic created for humorous effect. Yeah, I’m not that funny, but it was worth a try…

A Rich Hope

A Rich Hope

by Matt Townsley

Today, we continue our walk through 1 Timothy 6:17-19 by looking at the third phrase in the passage. Here is the passage as a whole:

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life (1 Timothy 6:17-19, ESV)

The phrase we will consider today is the warning from Paul not to set our hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but instead to trust God who richly provides us with everything.  Let’s get started!

Keep Your Eyes on God

The first part of today’s phrase tells us to set our hope on God rather than the uncertainty of riches.  The New Living Translation says Jesus-followers are “not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable.”

As someone nearing the “middle years” of my career, I have been told numerous times to start thinking about finances and life in general, in the long term.  Traditional retirement vehicles such as IRAs, 401(k)s, and Social Security all sound great, but what if the stock market crashes?  What if Social Security is not around by the time I retire?  It all sounds so unreliable. Whether you’ve thought about these long-term financial considerations or are purposefully choosing to ignore them, one thing is for certain: there will be uncertainty! We cannot realistically control the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500, nor can we predict what Social Security will look like 20 years from now. This is why we are to keep our eyes on God rather than the uncertainty of riches. As a matter of practical application, a trusted mentor years ago suggested that I should affix a label to my checkbook (yes, this was well before Venmo!) that reads “God’s money” in order to be reminded of where it all came from. In this same train of thinking, Matthew 6:21 tells us that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. No matter what happens to “our” money or other material possessions, we should keep our focus on God!

He will richly provide

A Rich HopeAbout ten years ago, my parents surprised me with a birthday gift: a shiny red toolbox and a ratchet set! I could barely let out a smile or even say “thank you” because I am not a ‘handy’ person and was certain that I would not have any use for these tools. Fast-forward about six months: A small home fix-up job presented itself to which I walked out to the garage, dusted off the toolbox, and for the first time put the tools to use. As you can imagine, I did not fully appreciate these tools until I saw the value in the gift my parents gave me. While I did not know what I needed, my parents did. Likewise, we may miss God’s provision for us, because we are caught up in what we think that we need rather than what He knows is best for us. Philippians 4:19 tells us, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Notice that God provides what we need according to His will. Indeed, we can rest assured that God will richly provide what is best for us, whether we immediately comprehend it or not.

Jesus had full confidence in God, His Father. We, too, should have confidence that God will richly provide for us. In doing so, we can “live like Jesus lived” and live out a spirit of generosity with our finances and other material possessions.  And not just for the 40-days of a “generosity campaign,” but for all our days.

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