Kelsey navigated the narrow airplane aisle with her eleven-month-old daughter, Lucy, and Lucy’s oxygen machine. They were traveling to seek treatment for her baby’s chronic lung disease. Shortly after settling into their shared seat, a flight attendant approached Kelsey, saying a passenger in first class wanted to switch seats with her. With tears of gratitude streaming down her face, Kelsey made her way back up the aisle to the more spacious seat, while the benevolent stranger made his way toward hers.
Kelsey’s benefactor embodied the kind of generosity Paul encourages in his letter to Timothy. Paul told Timothy to instruct those in his care with the command to “do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:18). It’s tempting, Paul says, to become arrogant and put our hope in the riches of this world. Instead, he suggests that we focus on living a life of generosity and service to others, becoming “rich” in good deeds, like the man from seat 2D on Kelsey’s flight.
Whether we find ourselves with plenty or in want, we all can experience the richness of living generously by being willing to share what we have with others. When we do, Paul says we will “take hold of the life that is truly life” (v. 19).
God, please give me a generous spirit as I renew my hope in You.
Read about learning to love like Jesus at discoveryseries.org/q0208.
The false teachers Paul previously warned the elders about (Acts 20:29) had infiltrated the Ephesian church, leading many believers in Jesus astray. Relationships were fractured; fellowship and worship were disrupted. Paul asked Timothy to help get the Ephesian believers back on the right track and wrote him this letter to help him in this difficult leadership task (1 Timothy 1:3). Timothy was to deal decisively with the false teachers (1:3–20; 4:1–16; 6:3–20), strengthen the leadership by appointing godly people to be elders and deacons (3:1–12), and teach the members how to relate to one another (2:1–12; 3:14–16; 5:1–6:2). In the final section of the book, Timothy confronts materialism in the church. The believers are to pursue contentment as a guard against greed (6:6–10), and he warns the rich believers not to be proud or trust in their wealth but to generously use their resources to benefit others (vv. 17–19).