Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. (1 Timothy 6:18-19)
I’m sure we all know of someone who had a good job, then bought a house–perhaps a little too much of a house–only to lose their job a year or two later. “Riches” are uncertain, and even in the most seemingly stable of circumstances, stuff happens. It’s easy to get smug about our financial situation, but nearly all of us can be bucked off of our high horse and find ourselves flat on our rear ends in the mud. How, then, can we build a foundation beneath us that will uphold us in such times?
Interestingly, with good works.
As we know, “works” do not bring us salvation. We cannot “earn” our way into heaven. Jesus Christ has already paid the price and it is a free gift from God. However, good works do have benefits in this life. In fact, in God’s banking system, good works can be stored like some people store gold. The difference is, when we store good works in God’s bank, we are not only building a good foundation for our future, we are also creating for ourselves a truly blessed life.
Note the contradictory language in Paul’s letter to Timothy:
…to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future…
In the world’s economy, if we are generous and share our money with others, we certainly aren’t storing up for ourselves any treasures, or a good foundation for the future. But in God’s economy, the more we share, the more good works we do, the more we are adding up our deposits in God’s bank. And because God is a generous banker, He adds a lot of interest. Although we can’t see it, we are building beneath ourselves a firm financial foundation that God will dole out to us when we need it, along with a significant amount of interest. He will richly supply us with all things to enjoy.
I have come to trust in this, and it keeps me at peace. I have learned to be generous and give, not only to the church, but also to people who clearly need financial help. And I make sure I’m giving my time to His people. And I have watched God come through for me time and time again, and always with perfect timing. I know that no matter what comes my way, no matter what is happening in the economy, that He will richly supply me with all things to enjoy.
And that’s the difference between storing up money in the bank, and storing up good works. Money is simply money, but the dividends of good works are all things to enjoy. As I look around at my life, I have truly been blessed with all things. There is not a single thing that I lack. I have a wonderful home, healthy children, a great church, a working car, great friends, a beautiful garden, and an amazingly loving man in my life.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t save money–of course we must be prudent. But give at least ten percent of your money to God, and as much of your time as you can to others, and watch God begin to pour the blessings into your life…pressed down, shaken together, running over.