Uncertain Riches, 1 Tim 6:17-19

1 Tim 6:17 says, “nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God.”  We are not to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God.  Riches are deceiving; Matt 13:22 mentions the deceitfulness of riches.  Riches, like sin and religion, deceive you into believing that you can trust them.  According to Mk 10:23-24, rich men are more inclined to trust riches than the Lord.  In Prov 30:8-9, Agur said, “give me neither poverty nor riches… Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord.”  In the USA, prosperity has contributed to godlessness in our society.   You either trust riches or “in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” 

Riches are not trustworthy because they are uncertain.  However, there are some things about riches that are certain. 

It is certain that riches will fly away – Prov 23:4-5.  Our money today is not worth the paper it is printed on.

It is certain that riches will corrupt – Matt 6:19.  Jas 5:1-3 says, “Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.  Your gold and silver is cankered.”

It is certain that thieves will steal them – Matt 6:19.  Solomon had mare riches that any other man in his day [1 Ki 10:23].  In 1 Ki 14:25-26, the Egyptians ended up with all of his riches in the fifth year of his son, Rehoboam’s, reign.  Hezekiah had abundant riches [2 Chr 32:27-29].  In 2 Ki 20:14-17, the Babylonians ended up with all of them.  They took everything worth having. 

It is certain that riches will remain here – 1 Tim 6:7, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” 

Though these things are certain about riches, riches are uncertain because you don’t know how or when they will fly away, corrupt, or leave in someone else’s possession.  You just know they will.   You don’t know when you and they will be parted; you just know you will be. 

And something else is certain.  In Prov 13:7, “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing.”  The rich young ruler chose to trust his riches.  And he ended up without eternal life, and without his riches.  He ended up with nothing.  Yet Prov 13:7 goes on to say, “there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.”  According to Matt 6:20, you can “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”  We do this in 1 Tim 6:18 by being “ready to distribute, willing to communicate.”  

You can give:

To help poor brethren – Matt 19:21.  Jesus assured the rich ruler that if he sold all his possessions and gave them to the poor he would have treasure in heaven.  In 2 Cor 8:2, the churches in Macedonia gave to relieve the poor brethren in Jerusalem even though they were in deep poverty themselves.  By the grace of God they “abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”  This is the due to the principle of Prov 11:24-25.  “There is that scattereth and yet increaseth…”  In Eph 4:28, Paul instructed us to work so that we “may have to give to him that needeth.”

To help ministers – Acts 20:33-35.  Paul often worked with his own hands to support himself in the ministry.  And not only did he work to support himself, but he also supported “them that were with” him.  You should give to support men in the ministry who teach and preach to you [Gal 6:6; 1 Cor 9:14].

To help missionaries – Phil 4:14-17.  Paul made three missionary journeys.  The Philippians helped Paul from “the beginning of the gospel,” all the way through.  He said to them, “ye sent once and again unto my necessity.”  Paul accepted their help because he desired “fruit that may abound to your account.”  He assured them that their giving would yield eternal fruit in heaven for them.  If you are not currently giving to missions, you should begin.  This is a great way to help the cause of Christ and to ;ay up treasure in heaven.

Conclusion: Jesus gave everything he had for us, 2 Cor 8:9.  And yet today, he has all the treasure in heaven.  Through his poverty, once we are saved, we inherit his eternal riches.  You should be saved today, if you aren’t already.  It is certain that if you have all your riches down here, you will leave them all down here.  Likewise, it is certain that if you lay up treasure in heaven, you will have treasure in heaven, 1 Tim 6:19.  Therefore, don’t “trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God.”  Handle your riches the way he shows you.