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Share, Sell, and Sacrifice - What?

Last night in our church small group, we were challenged to think about our material possessions and responsibilities to the poor and needy. It was difficult to study 1 Timothy 6:21 because the scripture defines a way of living that is opposite to the American way of life.

This scripture points out how we should be content with what we have and do our best to meet the needs of others. Towards the end of the passage, there's a warning to the rich not to trust in their wealth but instead to have faith in God.


As we read, my heart was heavy with the burden of placing too much trust in money. I'm like everyone else; I like to have enough to pay the bills, buy what I want, and even store cash for the future. It makes me feel safe to have "enough." But here's the thing about this scripture. We have "enough" in Christ. Material possessions should be somewhere other than where we find security. Our security should rightly be placed in our relationship with our Lord.


When we are secure in the Lord, it opens our hearts to become more generous and to share what we have been given.


In our lesson, the instructor pointed out that over 1 billion people are living in poverty. They have no food, water, medical care, shelter, and no promise of any of those things anytime soon. It reminded me of the time I spent in Kenya earlier this year. I saw firsthand what it's like to live without the promise of the next meal truly. The experienced changed my heart.


And isn't the heart at the core of everything we read in 1 Timothy 6? How you manage your wealth is an indication of the condition of your heart. It's like a thermometer that shows what's on the inside. We are only genuinely generous when our hearts are content to live simply so that we can bless others.


We ended our meeting with a pretty serious challenge. This week we plan to identify something we can share, sell, and sacrifice to love our neighbor as ourselves. It seems simple, and it should be, but I was thinking about what we do after we share, sell, and sacrifice something this one time.


How do we integrate this way of thinking into everyday living? It has to be done by opening our hearts to the moving of the Spirit. He will direct us as we seek to bless others. The key is to be available and willing to do what He says with a content heart.


Here's the scripture we studied last night. Let it bless you and challenge you today.

6 And religion does make your life rich, by making you content with what you have. 7 We didn't bring anything into this world, and we won't take anything with us when we leave. 8 So we should be satisfied just to have food and clothes. 9 People who want to be rich fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught by foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them. 10 The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain.


11 Timothy, you belong to God, so keep away from all these evil things. Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle. 12 Fight a good fight for the faith and claim eternal life. God offered it to you when you clearly told about your faith, while so many people listened. 13 Now I ask you to make a promise. Make it in the presence of God, who gives life to all, and in the presence of Jesus Christ, who openly told Pontius Pilate about his faith. 14 Promise to obey completely and fully all that you have been told until our Lord Jesus Christ returns.

....


17 Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. 18 Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. 19 This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so that they will know what true life is like.


20 Timothy, guard what God has placed in your care! Don't pay any attention to that godless and stupid talk that sounds smart but really isn't. 21 Some people have even lost their faith by believing this talk.

I pray that the Lord will be kind to all of you!


The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 1 Ti 6:6–21.

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