Early here on the Monday morning that I write this, it is dark and rainy. A first glance online at the headlines is troubling. There have been bombs exploding in several cities over the weekend. And among bold print titles are these: “Asteroid with power of 3 billion nukes may be headed near Earth” … “Putin once casually said he could destroy America in a half-hour (or less)” … “US, Japan, South Korea condemn nuke test by North Korea.”
How do we survive?
I’m trying to not be like the grumpy old people I remember when an even younger man than I am right now, but I do think the accumulation of the crud of this world has a multiplier factor emotionally as years go by. However, just being objective, there really is a lot out there right now that causes concern and discouragement and a lessening of affections for this world. And frankly, there is some health in that.
Notice that the passage we look at today in 1 Timothy 6:11-16 is between paragraphs and thoughts about the allure of worldly gain and riches. In his final charge to Timothy, Paul is telling his younger protégé to lift his head up beyond all of this and simply run from it!
6:11 — But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
It is a fact. This world is never going to satisfy, even at its best. But while here, we need to pursue the things that Paul encourages: what is right and true, being like Christ, faith and trust, love for God and others, enduring whatever comes our way, and gentle life of serving others. In doing this, we let loose of this world and are even now grabbing onto what is eternal life.
Understood – consistently doing this is difficult. It is counter-cultural. You are that proverbial fish swimming upstream against the schools of others going with the currents. But this is being like Christ, who stood alone (though with God) before Pontius Pilate and held onto the only truth that is eternal. “My kingdom is not of this world,” he said. Neither is ours.
So use this day for eternal gain and for a kingdom that can never fade or perish.