‘Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.’
In other words, the Apostle is emphasising the teaching of our Lord, ‘Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’
I. The choice.—Riches, which are indeed uncertain; or ‘the living God,’ Who not only abideth for ever but giveth us richly all things to enjoy? You have to make the choice—riches, the world, or God? Can there be a doubt? Yet there are thousands who, in their lust after wealth, forget Him by Whom alone they live, and move, and have their being.
II. The pursuit of wealth.—The love of money is eating like a canker into the life of the nation. The office-boy who steals half a crown from his employer that he may back a horse is affected by the mad craze to get rich, just as much as the man who gambles on the Stock Exchange in securities (!) which he thinks will yield a high rate of interest. The love of money, no matter in what way it is fostered, means death—spiritual death.
III. The life of faith.—The poor person who trusts in ‘the living God’ is in an infinitely better position than the millionaire who trusts in his riches. The one has treasure in heaven which can never disappoint; the other may lose his all by a single turn in the money market. Which life will you choose? The life of faith, with its positive assurance for the life which now is as well as for that which is to come; or the life which has its affections and its interests centred in the things which are uncertain and pass away even ere we have time to enjoy them?
‘The votary of earthly wealth does, in fact, with all the energies of his nature, strain after that very security of unchangeable bliss which we preach; but, mistaking the illusory phantom, weds his whole soul to the fictitious heaven, which the powers of evil have clothed in colours stolen from the skies. The soul made for heaven is lost among heaven’s shadows upon earth; it feigns the heaven it cannot find, and casts around the miserable companions of its exile, the attributes that belong to the God it was born to adore.’