1 Timothy 6:13-16

In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:13-16

The last devotion I wrote, for September 23, was based on the verses before and after today’s reading. I cut them out on Friday because the reading seemed too long for a blog entry and because cutting them out still provided a seamless flow in the meaning of the surrounding verses. Today we will listen to them.

When I was a kid I was like most other kids. If my mom told me to do something, and if I spoke back without worrying too much about the consequences, I would ask her “Why?” Most of the time I was just making the first move toward getting out of doing it but sometimes I was just curious. “Why?”

I think that is how these verses function within the 6th chapter of 1 Timothy.

The 6th chapter is the closing chapter of this letter. It wraps up the instructions that the writer is passing down to Timothy, a young leader in the church. It talks about money, about wealth, about how much trust we put in money, and about our responsibilities to use our money in responsible ways. Since money is such an important part of life, guidance in matters of money is also an important subject in mentoring young leaders. But there is more at stake than that.

Earlier, in 6:5, the writer offers harsh criticism of those who ignore the teachings of Jesus. Rather than aligning their lives with what they know of Jesus, they use the faith in “imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” That is dangerous to the spirituality of all involved. And now comes the old question, “Why?”

Because either Jesus is worth following or he is not. Either he is “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” or he is not. Either we will follow Jesus as we come to know Jesus through the Bible, and serve Jesus’ purposes in our lives, OR we will make up our own version of Jesus that fits more easily into our own selfish and self-centered view of the world, and then use Jesus to serve our own selfish purposes. Doubly dangerous if we, like Timothy, are leaders in the church. Not only do we go down but we take lots of other people with us. That’s why.

I fully realize that “what’s in it FOR me?” is the easiest question in the world for us to ask. The entire economy seems to revolve around answering that question for us in every slick marketing campaign showered upon us…but it isn’t the Jesus question. The BETTER question will ever and always be, “What’s in it THROUGH me?”

Let us pray: Dear Lord, thank you for naming and claiming us as your own, for all the good gifts in our lives. Use us as you will, always to your glory, and the welfare and common good of the world around us. You are Lord of lords and lord of our lives. May we always seek direction from you, not to gain some kind of competitive edge over others, but to more fully participate in your mission to love the world back to wholeness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


One Response to “1 Timothy 6:13-16”

  1. kirk Says:

    A Men

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