1 Tim 6:6-19 or 15
Well, religion does make us very rich, if we are satisfied with what we have. What did we bring into the world? Nothing! What can we take out of the world? Nothing! So then, if we have food and clothes, that should be enough for us. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires, which pull them down to ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows. But you, people of God, avoid all these things.
Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses. Before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who firmly professed his faith before Pontius Pilate, I command you to obey your orders and keep them faithfully until the Day when our Lord Jesus Christ will appear. His appearing will be brought about at the right time by God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He alone is immortal; he lives in the light that no one can approach. No one has ever seen him; no one can ever see him. To him be honour and eternal power! Amen.
Command those who are rich in the things of this life not to be proud, but to place their hope, not in such an uncertain thing as riches, but in God, who generously gives us everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share with others. In this way they will store up for themselves a treasure which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life
“Mary is rich in so many ways – love of life, full of hope, with a deep faith and intellectual achievement. She supports so many, and shares these gifts with all whom she meets.” I shared in a speach at a friend’s birthday. However, some of the party members took it to mean that she was wealthy in money and possessions. The heckling was negative and derogatory, with grasping hands actually taking some of the families’ ornaments as they left. What was said reflected the abundant life she lived with God. What was heard was filtered through the dissatisfied hunger of broken and greedy lives.
In our society, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the ‘required standard’ for items we do not need, purchased with the money we do not have. It is reflected too, in the way we ‘take’ from ecosystems – seas, rivers, forests, the earth – with short sighted desire and greed, and minimal long-sighted planning. We hear it from our sisters and brothers in poorer nations who seek to meet the ravenous demands of ‘wealthy’ countries, so as to support their impoverished communities. We see it in dying ecosystems and endangered species, who can no longer adapt, are forever changed or even vanish within our life time.
In this Season of Creation, as we reflect on the Luke and 1 Timothy readings, let us bring our focus to the sorrowing in God’s creation from the greed within of human kind. Let us also focus on what we can do, where we are, with what we have, with whom all we meet, so that we bring the ‘wealth’ we have in our faith-filled life, living with care and gently honouring the whole of God’s creation. Perhaps though, unlike Timothy’s directive, conversing rather than ‘commanding’ those ‘who are rich in the things of this life’ would better reflect Jesus’ Way of peace. Peace to you on this International Day of Peace.
enrich my life,
so that I seek the
wealth of faith:
richness of a loving heart,
productivity of a just mind,
and generosity of kindly and ethical living.
Grow in me your desire for a commonwealth
for all your creation.
For it is there where peace warms me.
It is in the shared space between us all,
land, sky, waters and creatures – the flora, fauna and humanity
where we meet you, hear you, and glimpse your heavenly realm.
Help me, God of all, to live justly, in peace, offering
what I can do, where I am, with what I have, with all whom I meet.
May it be so
© Rev Anne Hewitt 21/09/2022
This reflection may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.