It's true. As much as we complain about paltry teacher salaries, if you make $33,700 per year, you're in the top 5% of wealthy people on earth! If you make $47,500, you are in the top 1% and richer than 99% of people in the world.
So when Timothy gave instructions to the rich, he was actually talking to you and me:
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (I Timothy 6:17-19)This summer, I've been relaxing and indulging myself in some of my favorite luxuries: traveling, taking long walks on the beach, getting pedicures, hitting the sale racks at the mall, and eating lots of delicious meals (sushi, anyone?). I'm a very frugal person, but like most educators, I don't mind splurging a little bit in the summer. I want to use this time to rest and regroup in preparation for the hard work that's ahead of me in the fall.
But Timothy reminds me that this is a time for building a firm foundation for the eternal time to come. We're not just getting ready for the hustle and bustle of back-to-school; we've got work to do for the Kingdom, because the time is drawing near. Ultimately, we need to use our summers to prepare ourselves and others for eternity. And that means using our wealth and our time to bless the people in our communities and throughout the world.
As we savor the last few weeks of summer, let's focus on "doing good and being rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share." That mindset not only benefits others, but gives meaning to even the most trivial tasks and enhances the pleasure of doing the things we love. As Timothy reminds us, being rich in good works is the way to "take hold of the life that is truly life."