Eternity is coming. Only that which you give away for God is what you're going to keep for eternity.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that little corny greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your good friend, Bob Cook, and I am so glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times like a missioner looks forward to furlough. [chuckle] I tell you, I relax when I can sit down with the Word of God and be with you. It does me good. I trust that there’s some blessing. Oh, how I pray that God may put His love in my voice, and His truth in the words that I say, and His power in the way they’re said, so there be some blessing and help for you, my beloved friends.
Well, it’s great to be with you. Come with me now to 1 Timothy 6. And Paul is talking to people who have some of this world’s goods. He says, “Tell rich people that they do good,” we talked about that, “Be rich in good works.” Your real riches is calculated not on your net worth, but on what you’re doing for God. You wanna adjust your point of view on that? Most of us are incorrigibly dollar-minded. I know some people who, the moment they come into one’s house, they’ll say, “What d’you pay for that?” [chuckle] “Oh, that must have cost you a lot.” Or you’re talking about somebody who either has been called to a new pastorate, or has a new job, or whatever. “Oh, he’ll make a lot more money now.” [chuckle] Money.
Dollarizing things. It’s a chronic habit with most of us, isn’t it? You wanna get away from that and realize that your real value is not your net worth, not the dollarization of the various factors in life. Your real riches is what you’re doing for God’s glory, and for the salvation of souls, and the building up of believers. Good works, rich in good works. Honest, now, what did you do for anybody else, aside from your family, let’s say, what did you do for anybody else in the last 24 hours, just because you love Jesus and loved people, and wanted to honor God? What good works have we done? Something to think about, wouldn’t you say? Rich in good works.
Now, he says, “Ready to distribute.” And that actually means willing to give something away. Now, the world’s value system says, “If you give it away, you’re foolish.” [chuckle] I can recall riding on a train from Liverpool to London. They have compartments in these British trains, very comfortable, but just a little different from our way of doing it. There are anywhere from four to six people can sit in one of these compartments.
Well, I was accompanied by a very affluent, evidently, and prosperous gentleman, just the two of us in the compartment. As we traveled along, a good many years ago now, and we talked of this and that. Finally, he unloaded this gem of wisdom on me. He said, “You Americans are stupid.” Well, that wasn’t the first time that I’d been told that. [chuckle] The first three English words I heard when I landed in France were these, “You stupid Americans.” [laughter] Oh, dear. But anyhow, he said, “You Americans are stupid.” Well, I said “Why?” He said, “You give things away. You should sell them. People don’t respect you for giving things to them. They will only respect you if you charge them for it, my boy,” said he.
Well, he may have been right, I don’t know. I won’t argue the point. I only know that God is a giver. God so loved the world that He gave, gave is the verb, gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This very passage in which we’re working, in verse 17, we went over that a moment ago, “Giveth us. Giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”
So, you have a heavenly pattern there to follow, don’t you? And the world says, “Don’t give it away, you’re foolish. Nobody appreciates what they get for nothing.” That’s the world’s way of thinking, and oftentimes it would seem to be true. You appreciate what costs you something. You appreciate what you work for. You appreciate something that involves sacrifice. And what you get for free, you oftentimes take for granted. Well, let’s agree that that may be so, but here now you have, he says, “If you’ve got anything of these world’s goods,” he said, “Be willing to give away some of it.” That verb, ‘ready to distribute,’ that’s the one we’re working on. Ready to distribute. And so, it’s a compound verb, and it says ‘willing,’ willing, easy, actually, you might render it, “easy to give things away. Easy to give.” Little prefix ‘eu,’ which means ‘good, or well, or easy.’ Easy to give things.
Now, you’ve heard of people who are an easy mark. “Oh, he’s an easy mark.” What do we mean? “Ah, you can work on him. You can get him to give you what you’re after.” Is God asking me to be gullible so that people can take me in? Is He asking me to be an easy mark? Oh, no, oh, no. You and I know that selfishness is bound in the heart.
Well, Proverbs says, “It’s bound in the heart of the child.” And children grow up to be grownups, still selfish. First me. There’s that old Lancaster County Pennsylvania Dutch proverb. “Eerst mij Dan ik dan daarna, maar niet voor een lange tijd “ First me, then me, after that you, but not for a long time. Oh, the selfishness that there is in the human heart.
The Holy Spirit of God, when He controls you, is going to make you not a gullible, naïve, easy mark to be trampled on. Oh, no. You’re still gonna be in control of yourself and of your assets, but you’re not gonna hang onto them, because you know you can’t take them with you. It’s gonna be easy for you to give to human need and to give for God’s work.
One of the marks, one of the marks of the control of the Spirit of God is generosity. “This we say, that first they gave themselves to God and then to us, by the will of God.” When the Lord is in control, it’s easy for you to give for His glory.
Then it says, “Willing to communicate.” Now, that’s different. It’s a different verb. It’s a form that’s related to the word we often use, ‘koinonia,’ which means ‘fellowship.’ Fellowship. What does it mean? If you got some of this world’s goods, allow yourself to get close enough to people to share their needs. Fellowship means sharing each other’s life and needs, and viewpoints, and experiences. Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another. And the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” Fellowship, koinonia, sharing the essence of life. Now, that means is you’re gonna be vulnerable. You cannot build a wall around yourself and hold yourself aloof from human need and heartache and woe, and have any fellowship. It doesn’t work that way. So He says if you got anything, be willing to be vulnerable in terms of sharing other people’s needs and feelings and burdens.
I think one of the most remarkable experiences I’ve had has been to meet folk who out of their riches are truly humble and available to the needs of other people. I’ve met a few on this side of the Atlantic and on the other. Yes, they had it, they had it made, fortune-wise, but they were available to people, their hearts were open and when in necessary, so was their pocket book. Oh, what a beautiful combination that is.
Willing to communicate. That means be willing to make yourself vulnerable to the hurts and the hearts of other people. And I think that goes for all of us, not just for folk who have some of this world’s goods. But for all the rest of us who don’t, and who live from day-to-day, and paycheck-to-paycheck, what you have is what God has trusted you with.
Let yourself become vulnerable to the needs and the hurts and the heartaches and the burdens of people around you, and use what you do have for God’s glory. Now, why do all of this? Why, because eternity is coming. “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
Now, it’s interesting, Paul said to Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” All of this comes through the commitment of faith, that’s where you start. But to lay hold on eternal life also means putting eternal matters ahead of dollars and cents. Doing good, willing to give, willing to become vulnerable to the needs and burdens and hurts and heartaches of others. Why? Because eternity is coming, and only that which you give away for God is what you’re going to keep for eternity. “A good foundation against the time to come that they may lay hold on the eternal life.”
Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.” Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath begotten us again unto a living hope, unto an inheritance undefiled and that fadeth not away reserved in Heaven for you.”
There is such a thing as eternity. There is such a thing as the tomorrows of God, and the judgement seat of Christ, and the rewards that our Savior’s going to give for faithful service. All of this is true. The Bible says so. Our Master, the Lord, Jesus Christ, said so, didn’t He? So the reason that you put money and the things it can buy under the control of the Holy Spirit, the reason that you put money and the things it can buy under the control of the Holy Spirit, is that He enables you to live for eternity and put things and money to work in a way that will still be meaningful a million years from now. Eternal life.
Dear Father today, help us to live for eternity. In Jesus’ name, I pray this. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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