8Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
These words from 1 Timothy 6 continue the instruction God gives those of us in America who are rich. If you are able to read this blog, then you are rich. Maybe you have two pennies in your pocket, but you are rich in education — someone somewhere gave you the incredible gift of knowing how to read, a gift that keeps on giving long after it was first given.
Today we’ll peel the onion a little more so we can find the jewels in store for us when we obey this teaching.
Command them to do good (agathoergeo)
Agathoergeo. It’s a word translated “good,” but it means more than that. It means to do well, to act rightly. The rest of the verse goes on to tell us what “acting rightly” is all about.
To be rich (plouteo) in good (kalos) deeds (ergon)
Plouteo. To have an abundance of or to be richly supplied
Kalos means many things — morally good, noble, honorable. It also means beautiful by being pure of heart. It is being precious, genuine, and useful.
Ergon. Anything accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind, or anything that is done, any work, business, or employment.
To be generous and willing to share (koinonikos)
Koinonikos is what happened after 9-11 when lines at Red Cross blood banks were overflowing. Everyone wanted to do something. There was a spirit of togetherness in our country in those weeks after that disaster. It means being ready to be sociable, ready to maintain fellowship, to make others sharers in one’s possessions, being free in giving. It’s what happens when we those of us who have “2 cloaks” (coats) give one to someone who has none. (Note to self: take clothes to Salvation Army!!)
In this way they will lay up (apothesaurizo) treasure for themselves
Storing up abundance for future use, to treasure away.
as a firm foundation (themelios) for the coming age (eis mello)
Themelios is a firm foundation. It’s also the beginnings or first principles of an institution or system of truth. The King James Version translates eis mello as “against the time to come.” The Greek word mello means to be on the point of doing or suffering something, or to have in mind or intent.
So that they may take hold of (epilambanomai) the life that is truly life (aionios zoe).
Epilambanomai is taking possession of. The image is of someone seizing something with their hands. Aionios means without end…and zoe means:
life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever
To tie up these new treasures, I see that we are commanded to
- Act rightly
- Have an abundance of morally good, beautiful, pure-of-heart works, so that everything we set our hands upon is noble, honorable, precious, genuine, and useful.
- Be generous of our possessions and have an attitude of fellowship towards others; look at our possessions as items to be shared with those who have none.
If we do these things, we are promised that we are building up our system of truth in Christ, strengthening our own faith in the process so that we will be able to stand in the face of trials or suffering. We also will grab hold of:
- understanding that eternal life is our gift (given to us through grace, not by anything we have done…but grabbing hold of it means we draw that gift into ourselves. We clutch it to our hearts as a child grasps a favorite stuffed toy or blanket. We treasure this hope as our foundation!)
- a life on this earth that is vigorous, active, real and genuine.
In the times of life when I feel empty and deflated, I need only to examine my work and my generosity. Feeling weak in faith? Dig through the closet and find some clothes to donate. Volunteer somewhere…find a place that needs hands to do some good work, and then do it excellently. Praise God for the wonder and miraculous gift of eternal life…think on that, on what it means. Treasure it. Let it roll around in my heart the way I let a Dove dark chocolate roll around on my tongue, melting its sweetness into my very being. I think this especially applies during the holiday rush. Let’s put the spotlight back on Jesus and remember…he is God’s gift to us, and it is through the Christ Child that we have that wondrous, supernatural eternal life.