1 Timothy 6:17-19
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God…
The counsel carries us back to what he had been saying in previous verses.
I. THE RICH ARE WARNED AGAINST A TWOFOLD DANGER. "To those who are rich in this present world give in charge not to be high-minded." It is implied that there were rich men as well as poor slaves in the Church at Ephesus.
1. The danger of high-mindedness. A haughty disposition is often engendered by wealth. The rich may be tempted to look down with contempt on the poor, as if they, forsooth, were the special favorites of Heaven because they had been so highly favored with worldly substance.
2. The danger of trustiest in wealth. "Nor to set their hope upon the uncertainty of riches."
(1) It is a great risk for a rich man to say to gold, "Thou art my hope; and to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence" (Job 31:24),
(2) Our tenure of wealth is very uncertain. It is uncertain
(a) because riches may take to themselves wings and flee away;
(b) because we may be taken away by death from the enjoyment of our possessions;
(c) because riches cannot satisfy the deep hunger of the human heart.
3. The safety of trusting in God. "But upon the living God, who giveth us all things richly for enjoyment."
(1) God is the sole Giver of all we possess.
(2) He giveth to us all richly according to our need.
(3) He giveth it for our enjoyment, so that we may take comfort in his rich provision.
(4) As the living God, he is an unexhaustible Fountain of blessings, so that no uncertainty can ever attach to the supply.
II. THE RICH ARE ENCOURAGED TO MAKE A RIGHT USE OF THEIR WEALTH.
1. "That they do good."
(1) Rich men may do evil to others by fraud or oppression, and evil to themselves by habits of luxury and intemperance.
(2) They are rather to abound in acts of beneficence to all men, and especially to the household of faith, after the example of him who "went about every day doing good" (Acts 10:38).
2. "Rich in good works," as if in opposition to the riches of this world. They are to abound in the doing of them, like Dorcas, who was "full of good works and almsdeeds." Wealth of this sort is the least disappointing both here and hereafter, and has no uncertainty in its results.
3. "Ready to distribute." Willing to give unasked; cheerful in the distribution of their favors; giving without grudging and without delay.
4. "Willing to communicate." As if to recognize, not merely a common humanity, but a common Christianity with the poor. The rich ought to share their possessions with the poor.
III. ENCOURAGEMENTS TO THE DISCHARGE OF THESE DUTIES. "Laying up in store for themselves as a treasure a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold upon the true life."
1. It is possible for rich believers to lay up treasure in heaven. This treasure is a foundation against the time to come.
(1) Not a foundation of merit, for we are only saved by the merits of Christ;
(2) but a foundation in heaven, solid, substantial, and durable - unlike uncertain riches of earth; good in its nature and results - unlike earthly riches, which often are the undoing of men. "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness" (Luke 16:9).
2. Our riches may have an influence on our true life hereafter. "That they may lay hold on the true life."
(1) Not in the way of merit;
(2) but in the way of grace, fro' the very rewards of the future are of grace;
(3) the end of all our effort is the true life, in contrast to the vain, transitory, short-sighted life of earth. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
WEB: Charge those who are rich in this present world that they not be haughty, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on the living God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy;