Lay hold on eternal life, 1 Tim 6:19, 12. To lay hold is to grasp, to seize, and to take possession. What you lay hold on, reveals:
What you love – 1 Tim 6:17 – there are those who are “rich in this world.” Their temptation is to love earthly treasure rather than heavenly treasure. In Ps 62:10 David wrote, “if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” You can’t set your affection on heavenly things if your affection is set on earthy things, Col 3:1-2. When Demas loved this present world, he forsook Paul, 2 Tim 4:10. Matt 6:24 says, “he will hate the one, and love the other.” That’s just the way it is. You can’t love both of them.
The love of money is the root of all evil, 1 Tim 6:10. Evil entered with the devil. Ezek 28:4, “With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches.” Every iniquity stems from this.
The Lord told Israel to not forget him in Deut 8:10-18. He said, “When thou hast eaten and art full… beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God. And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.” You see how their hearts turned from their heavenly provision to their earthly possessions.
What you trust – 1 Tim 6:17 – “nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God.” The only thing certain about riches is that they fly away, Prov 23:4-5. In Mk 10:17-25, the rich man had to sell what he had, because he was trusting in his riches. Jesus said, “How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God.” He could not trust his riches and trust God. If you’re trusting riches, you’re not trusting God. It’s obvious that the widow who gave her two mites was trusting God.
When you get more anxious about a sudden downturn in the market than you do about your backslidden condition, you’re trusting in your wealth, whether you’re willing to admit it or not. When you know more about your assets and liabilities than you do about God’s promises and provisions in his words, you’re trusting in your wealth. God can and will take better care of you than your retirement account, your assets, or your salary.
You don’t want to be like the man in Ps 52:7 “that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches.” He was a failure. Prov 11:28 says, “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall.” And that’s the absolute truth. Riches are unreliable.
What you value – 1 Tim 6:17 – Paul described the Lord as “the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” You must remember that God is the living God. He’s the God of the manna, the God who gave water out of the rock, the God who multiplied the widow’s oil, the God who fed Elijah, the God who fed the five thousand, and the God who rose from the dead. He can and will take care of you.
Yet Matt 6:24 says, regarding serving God or mammon, “he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Despise is defined as, among other things, “to have a lower opinion of.” In other words, when you hold to your wealth, you will despise the Lord. That is, you will value money more than you value the Lord. For instance, I heard a church treasurer tell a man in his church, “If such and such family leaves our church, we won’t be able to meet the budget.” He valued that family’s money more than he valued God. That family left and that church is still there.
When you lay hold on eternal life, you value the Lord. When you lay hold on money, you value mammon. That’s why Jesus said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Jesus didn’t have anything to do with money; he left that to Judas Iscariot, and look what it did to him. If you’re holding onto your money right now, thinking “we’re going to be all right; we’ve got money,” you’ve placed value on the wrong thing. Instead, hold on to the Lord, and you’ll know that you’re going to be all right. Money, markets, commodities, real estate all change in value every day. The Lord never changes.
By the way, there is a difference between “holding” and “withholding.” Prov 11:24 says, “There is that withholdeth more than is meet but it tendeth to poverty.” Wilson withheld 10% in prosperous times. That’s what he used to run his company in lean times. That reserve was “meet.” The widow, whose oil multiplied, sold it to pay the creditor, and she and her children lived of the rest, 2 Ki 4:1-7. The rest was “meet.” It was not “meet” to hold onto more manna than one day’s supply, Ex 16:19-26, except on the sixth day. Then it was “meet” to lay it up till the morning of the sabbath.
What you own – 1 Tim 6:18 – “ready to distribute, willing to communicate.” You always need to be ready and willing to give it, because you really don’t own it. You say of the temporal, “This is mine.” No, it’s not. 1 Tim 6:7 says, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” None of it is really yours. Your name may be on it for a little while, but you’re going to leave here without it.
God feeds all the animals, yet they don’t take possession of his provision. In the wilderness, the Jews didn’t take possession of the manna. They brought it in and co-mingled it. Then they meted it out with the homer and there was equality. The attitude of the disciples in Acts 4:32 was that nothing they possessed was their own.
Prov 13:7 says, “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” We are either impoverished in wealth or rich in the grace of God, 2 Cor 8:1, 9. Most people would rather lay hold on the temporal than the eternal. That was the rich, young ruler’s problem. He asked for eternal life, but he wasn’t willing to let go of his temporal possessions to get it. 1 Tim 6:19 says, “lay hold on eternal life.” You can own that.
Conclusion: when you get saved, eternal life is yours. You have it and you can lay hold on it. It’s yours to keep forever. Therefore, lay hold on eternal life, love God, trust God, and don’t worry about accumulating wealth. Use it rather for the glory of God.