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  • Chad Werkhoven

1 Timothy 6:17-19 - Hold On by Letting Go

Interested in taking hold of the life that is truly life? Then let go of your stuff.


1 Timothy 6:17–19 (NIV)

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In 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.


Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 6: The Difference Between Canonical and Apocryphal Books

We distinguish between these holy books

and the apocryphal ones,

which are the third and fourth books of Esdras;

the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Jesus Sirach, Baruch;

what was added to the Story of Esther;

the Song of the Three Children in the Furnace;

the Story of Susannah;

the Story of Bell and the Dragon;

the Prayer of Manasseh;

and the two books of Maccabees.

The church may certainly read these books

and learn from them

as far as they agree with the canonical books.

But they do not have such power and virtue

that one could confirm

from their testimony

any point of faith or of the Christian religion.

Much less can they detract

from the authority

of the other holy books.



You probably don't think of yourself as wealthy, and chances are others don't think of you as such either, since there's probably far fewer zeroes in the number that signifies your net worth than that of billionaire tech titans or oil tycoons.

But you are wealthy. You don't really worry about things when a storm blows in, or how you'll keep yourself entertained on long winter nights. You're likely not too concerned about making it to work or uptight about getting your daily chores accomplished. You don't need to be. You have stuff that takes care of all these things for you, and given that stuff is the primary ingredient of wealth, you're pretty wealthy.

So it quickly becomes clear that we are these people "who are rich in this present world," and that this command to not "put our hope in wealth, which is so uncertain" is directed squarely not just at the one-percenters, but at people just like us. Paul tells Pastor Timothy to "command them to do good..." That's pretty strong language! Being good here, Paul goes on to explain, means being "rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share."

Remember that good deeds and such are not the basis of your salvation, but are a tremendous opportunity to express your gratitude for the salvation you've been given. Demonstrating your thankfulness ought to be reason enough to share your wealth, but Paul, echoing Jesus, throws out even more incentive: As you generously share, you "lay up treasure for yourself as a firm foundation for the coming age."

So many people are going through life desperately trying to hold onto their stuff, so much so they end up losing their grip on so much of life. You need to do just the opposite. Let go of your stuff and in doing so you'll "take hold of the life that is truly life!"

Dig Deeper

This week we've seen how the Apocrypha, that set of ancient books that's sort of an appendix to the Bible, can enhance and build up our understanding of the Bible. But there's a reason we relegate these books to the appendix. Not only do we not consider them to be inspired, but they also can point you in the wrong direction.

Tobit 4:8-10 is a good example of how quickly things can fall off the cliff:

8 If you have many possessions, make your gift from them in proportion; if few, do not be afraid to give according to the little you have. 9 So you will be laying up a good treasure for yourself against the day of necessity. 10 For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps you from going into the Darkness.

The first verse makes a great elaboration of passages like we read in 1 Timothy 6, but the final two verses makes it seem like it's your generosity that delivers you from death! Absolutely not! You must give because Christ delivered you from death, not as a scheme to deliver yourself!

So as our confession puts it, utilize the Apocrypha "to learn from them as far as they agree with the canonical books," without letting them steer you away from what God's inspired Word says to be true.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment, and commands us to put our hope in Him;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the ability and desire to generously let go of your stuff and share what you've been given;



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Acts 18


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