17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV)
The immediate definition of rich that comes to mind is having lots of money, perhaps millions or billions because it provides a sense of financial security with incredible purchasing power. I love the thought of not having to work so hard to pay off a mortgage, bills, and any other debts I owe. I would rather spend time enjoying exploring the world and other cultures through travel, and learning a new skill or trade without having to worry about the next obligation on my schedule.
If that were to happen, there will be a time when I feel that I reached my limit and would then have to ask myself, “Now what? What else would you like to do with your time?” In the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon detailed his experiences on laboring hard, acquiring possessions, and enjoying every possible pleasure. He concluded that they were all vain activities because they focused on himself, and he never reached a state of full satisfaction. I would venture to say that he probably felt more empty. I believe that is why Paul encouraged the rich to “not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God. Who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” The difference with holding this mindset is that it makes God the highest priority above anything else, which makes sense because he is the author life and created everything. Jesus even said, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
And so, what about having purpose and ambition? Is there anything wrong with that? No, because God designed us in his image and gave us free will. He wants us to use our minds and allows us to dream so that we can be creative and innovative with all that he has given us.
A person may say, “Well that all sounds nice, but I am not rich.” But I say we are rich in other ways. I once heard someone say, “Remember that you are living someone else’s dream;” a home for the homeless, food for the starving, health for the sick, or an education for those who are unable to attend a school. To further my perspective and expand my capacity for gratitude, I charge myself to never take the following for granted:
- Good health
- Mobility (functioning hands and feet)
- An sound mind
They enable me to learn, work, and serve by helping me discover a purpose and then live it out. Everything else that is given to me beyond these are considered extra blessings, and that is what makes me a very rich man. One day all of this may change and I may not be so fortunate, having to depend more on other people to care for me. As long as I am able, I hope to spend my time living out my faith in God so I can enjoy what is “truly life” on this side of eternity.