Recently, someone told me that they “cannot afford to tithe.” I remember those days—the days when I thought I could not part with the money or the bills wouldn’t get paid. But I also remember the moment I got my finances in order, when I started to take a serious look at where the money was going. The Bible speaks about where the treasure is located, that’s where your heart will also be found (see Matthew 6:21). Take a look at your checking account register. Review it and you will see what has value to you. Recognize that if God is first place in your life, He shouldn’t be getting the leftovers.
You might be included in the likely 90% + readers who know I am a pastor. Perhaps you are saying, “Oh here’s a pastor asking for money again.” Please understand, I am NOT asking you for money. God does NOT need your money. He is the God of the universe. He is our Creator. But He has blessed us with what we have in our possession. It’s HIS! ALL OF IT!! Maybe you worked for it, but He blessed you with that job. Behind it all, before it all, you will find God. He is the Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning, the End. He is in all, above all, through all. Bottom line (see 1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 4:6, Colossians 1:17, Revelation 22:13). And tithing is a BLESSING to you! Yes, you read that right. Giving some of the money that God blessed you with to your local church to continue God’s kingdom building is an amazing opportunity you are blessed to be able to take part in. It’s a blessing to be a steward, and we are to be generous givers (see 1 Timothy 6:18). Tithing is not an obligation; it’s a loving response, a willing response to the grace of God.
God doesn’t want you trapped. He wants you free. Sometimes we are trapped by lies. Sometimes we are trapped by sin. Sometimes we are trapped by possessions. When you are trapped by your possessions, you cling to them so tightly that your possessions actually possess you. Today, look at your budget. Jot down different categories. Look to see where your money goes. Then pray about your finances. Consider what Paul wrote to the Corinthians. “On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once” (1 Corinthians 16:2 NLT). You do this and you will learn to be a better steward. You will start to loosen your grip on what God has blessed you with, and be the generous, cheerful giver you were meant to be.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7 [NIV]
ctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7 [NIV]
This morning, Max was frightened by my daughter, who happened to be in the laundry room doing something she does often. The dog never realized that Jess left her bedroom and went to the laundry room to retrieve her clean clothing. When we walked downstairs to get ready for our morning walk, Max heard someone in the laundry room, and went into attack mode and proceeded to bark while in a full run towards the room. When he realized it was Jess, he calmed down.
We need to always be on guard, especially when we are in our own homes. Sometimes we get ourselves comfortable at home, and we do not see what is lurking about that could lead us to sin. We don’t see what is happening to our own family members. We are so focused on the outside-the-home stuff, that we miss what is right under our nose. This verse written in the letter to Timothy speaks about financial provision for the family. It is an important responsibility to make sure the financial needs of the family are met. Let us remember that spiritual needs are even more important.
Today, remember that you need to be intentional at home. How is your family? How is your spouse? How are your children? How are your roommates? Whoever lives with you – aim to be invested in their wellbeing. Be proactive. You may not see what is even happening because you are looking elsewhere. Family is important. The book of Genesis speaks a lot about family loyalty. We need to first take care of ourselves and our family, and then reach out into the world. Ask the Spirit to reveal anything that needs addressed in your home. Listen closely. Act with wisdom and love. Allow God to grow your family. Then step out together to serve in love.
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” – 1 Timothy 5:8 [NLT]
We guard our homes. We guard our possessions. We do whatever we can to be sure that our stuff is safe. Some of us get dogs; some of us get alarm systems. We lock our doors to our homes and our vehicles. We keep our purses, wallets, cell phones, and keys nearby.
Paul tells Timothy to “guard what God has entrusted to you.” In his second letter to Timothy, he again tells him to “carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” In both letters, the Apostle Paul makes this important statement. Why? Because we have been entrusted with something precious, something of great value.
The most precious thing in our lives is Jesus Christ. We need to guard His truth. We need to guard our relationship with Him. We need to guard what God has entrusted to us, more than we guard the things mentioned above. This can only be done through the Holy Spirit. Seek His power, stand firm on His truth. Guard what God has entrusted to you.
“Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge.” – 1 Timothy 6:20 [NLT]
“Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” – 2 Timothy 1:14 [NLT]
The Bible talks a lot about the dangers of money. Money isn’t a bad thing. The problem is that money can corrupt. Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:7 that, “We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (NIV). Even so, many people are not content to have the food and clothing Paul mentions in the next verse. People want more. And that desire to always have more keeps man from being content with the blessings of God.
In verse 6, Paul says “godliness with contentment is great gain” (ESV). Great gain. To be content with godliness is great gain. Yet, there is a warning here. Paul notes that many people want to be rich. The desire causes them to fall into temptation. They want more. They desire more. This results in entrapment by “foolish and harmful desires.”
God knows our needs and He sees to it that we have whatever we need to continue forward with what He has called us to do in life. When we take our focus off of His plan for our life, and we try to be like the Jones family next door, we plunge into ruin and destruction. We spend our life trying to live like someone else and we miss what God wanted for us. We focus on getting more, on building an earthly kingdom, instead of fixing our eyes on the Kingdom. Don’t take the plunge. Thank God for His blessings!
“But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” – 1 Timothy 6:9 [NLT]
Paul reminds Timothy to keep a close watch on himself—to watch his life and his teaching closely. In doing this, in staying true, in persevering, Paul says, “you will save both yourself and your hearers” (NIV).
We also need to keep a close watch on our life and our teaching. Our teaching should be something seen as we live our life. This means we should not teach one thing and then live another way. This means what we speak and teach to others, should be evident when we are going through the motions each day, when we are not simply intentionally sharing God’s truth to someone. The way we live our life each day teaches much more to observers than the words we speak.
Paul warns Timothy here to keep a close watch. The big issue is when we always teach and speak one way, but our life shows no evidence of living out the same teaching. Paul reminds us that this is of great importance. This is not only about our salvation, but the salvation of others. Why? If your teaching aligns with your life, people will want to listen and the seed may be planted for God to grow. If your teaching and life are very different, people will label you a hypocrite and close their ears to anything you say. We all fall short. We all have our good moments and our bad moments. There will be times when we do not live up to our teaching. No one is perfect. Even so, remember Paul’s warning. Keep a close watch.
“Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.” – 1 Timothy 4:16 [NLT]
Paul ends chapter 4 discussing what it means to be a good minister of Jesus Christ. In verse 14, Paul tells Timothy to “not neglect the gift” (NIV). Verse 15 says to “be diligent in these matters and absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all” (NIV). The NLT translation says to “give your complete attention” and to “throw yourself into your tasks.”
Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of the gift he was given and the importance to press forward with that gift, to throw himself into the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Just like Timothy, we each have a ministry. For everyone, the ministry is different because each of us is unique and gifted differently. If you know the ministry you have been called to, throw yourself into it. Give it your attention. Remember the great importance of pressing forward. If you are still wondering about the ministry for you, pray for the Spirit to reveal this to you. Continue to diligently read His Word and serve His people. He will show you the path to take.
“Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” – 1 Timothy 4:15 [NLT]
Paul really doesn’t hold back. The church is to be a pillar and foundation of the truth. The church is the house of God. The truth is God’s truth. The truth should be the first and most important part of the church. We must profess truth. We must preach truth. We must live truth.
We see two different things described in this verse. First there is the foundation, the ground floor. Our foundation should be the living God, Who is dwelling in our midst. He is our foundational truth. Second, we read of the pillar. A pillar can be compared to the pillar that holds up a building or a pillar that tacks on an edict. This can be understood as the pillar of truth holding up the church or the pillar displaying the truth before man. Truth holds up the church. If we rid ourselves of truth, the church will collapse. What is the truth? The saving truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Word of God.
The world is trying to get the church to stop sharing the truth. The truth is offensive. The truth doesn’t align with their way of life. The world wants very much for the pillar to fall. The devil and his demons do whatever possible to keep the body of Christ from sharing truth. In doing so, in keeping people from speaking truth, the pillar and foundation weaken. Today, boldly speak truth. Cling to His truth. Stand up for His truth. The church must continue to be a pillar and foundation of the truth of God.
“So that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 3:15 [NLT]
I love reading Paul’s letters to Timothy. What a wealth of information for leadership that Paul has shared with his young ministry worker and the world. In 1 Timothy 3, he reviews the qualifications of overseers. He poses an important question—“if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”
Leadership must start at the home. God appreciates order. He created order from the chaos. As we read each book of the Bible, we see order. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in all of the small details in the Bible—instead appreciate the small details, understanding that God cares so much even for the smallest of details. Everything is meant to fit perfectly. Everything is perfectly designed. It’s something we cannot fathom. The world is filled with balance and rhythm my friends.
A good leader manages family well. The man is a strong godly leader of his family. A godly man loves and supports his wife. A godly woman submits to her husband and supports her husband as the leader of the family. They raise their children in the disciple and teaching of the Lord. A godly couple lives life with a balance of grace and truth. A godly person is respected. Because a godly man manages his family well, his life is balanced so he is able to thereby serve God’s church. This is the same for a woman’s ministry role. If he or she does not manage the family well in their God given role, the chaos at home will follow to the church. This is a great truth spoken by Paul, a truth that speaks volumes. Ministry always starts at home. Any ministry outside the home is an overflow. Focus first in your home, and the overflow will follow.
“He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?” – 1 Timothy 3:4-5 [NLT]
Paul gives specific instructions for women. This passage is a difficult one for many women to swallow. Many times it is misunderstood. Contemporary readers typically shut their ears to the truth in these words. It is important, whether you are a man or woman, to understand what Paul is referencing in these verses.
The reason for “women to be modest in their appearance,” is because women should “not draw attention to themselves.” The attention should always be God’s. This is why Paul is addressing the issue of women fixing their hair and wearing jewelry. It has to do with attention. We are never to do anything to draw attention away from Jesus Christ.
Paul notes that the attractive woman is one who does good things. When doing these good things, we shine the Light—we point to Christ. Remember friends, the world tells you to do what you can to get attention. However, in Kingdom life, we know He alone deserves all the honor, glory and praise. It doesn’t mean we cannot wear makeup or jewelry, that our clothing doesn’t matter. It means nothing can take His glory. Fix your eyes on Him and in everything you do, point to Him.
“And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.” – 1 Timothy 2:9-10 [NLT]
It really upsets me when I hear people say that God sends people to hell. The truth is that hell is a choice. People choose to go to hell because they don’t want a life with Jesus—Who is in heaven at the right hand of the Father. God “wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (v. 4). In 2 Peter 3:9, we read that “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise… instead He is patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (NIV).
Jesus Christ gave His life as a sacrifice—to purchase freedom—FREEDOM FOR EVERYONE. In John, we read that God loved the entire world, everybody, that He gave His one and only Son and everyone who believes in Him will not perish (3:16). God loved the entire world. Jesus purchased freedom for everyone.
Hell is a choice. Heaven is a choice. You have a choice. Jesus Christ paved the way for you to have these two options, instead of it ending at the wages of sin being death. There are two options. You decide. Everyone chooses for themselves. God wants you to choose freedom. He wants you to choose heaven. He wants you to choose life. He wants you to choose Jesus. But He loves you so much, He’s given you the choice. It’s the only way for you to truly love Him, to truly have freedom, to truly have life. You decide.
“Who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth… He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.” – 1 Timothy 2:4, 6 [NLT]