November 10, 2011

Friday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 143, 2 Kings 5:9-19, 1 Tim. 6:1-11
Evening - Ps. 139, Eccles. 3:16, Mt. 21:17-32

Commentary

1Timothy 6:1-11

Servants are to count their masters as worthy of all honour. Here again, "honour" carries the double meaning of respect and payment. So the servant is to consider the master worthy of respect and worthy of his share of the servant's production. This has tremendous meaning for Christians in the work force today. It means we are to honour those who create our jobs and pay our wages. Likewise, masters are to pay wages that are fair and just, and Christian charity and equality is to bring masters and servants into mutual love. Thus Paul urged Philemon to receive Onesimus not as a slave but as a brother (Phil. 16). This principle is so important Paul says anyone who teaches otherwise does not consent to the words of Christ or the doctrine that is in accordance with Godliness (6:3). Instead he is proud, ignorant, and destitute of the truth (6:3-5).


Then, as now, some confused Godliness (faith in Christ) with financial gain. It is true that hard work and frugal living generally produce prosperity, but there are no guarantees in the Bible about this. A Christian's business may fail. His job may be eliminated. And office politics may deny him promotions, or, even get him fired. We live in a fallen world where sinners sin and evil things happen, so this should not surprise us. God makes no promises to make us rich. Especially does He not promise to reward holy living or giving money to the Church with financial success.

There is gain in Godliness, but it is spiritual, not financial (6:7) and we should content ourselves with food and raiment (6:8) knowing that the rich fall into many temptations that can drown them in destruction and perdition (6:9-10). In contrast to those who seek primarily wealth, Christians are to seek contentment, and follow after Godliness (6:11).