“As for those who are in the present age are rich… they are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
Several years ago, I ran across an article from a fellow pastor talking about a banner hanging in his church that from a distance looked like it just had a single word on it: “JOY.” Upon closer inspection, however, my colleague noticed that the banner also contained several additional words beneath it, and that the word JOY on the banner was actually just an acronym for those three other words: “Jesus,” “Others,” and “Yourself.” He noted correctly that this priority is, in fact, the secret behind having real joy in our lives.
As we conclude the commitment phase of our “Climbing Higher” stewardship journey during our morning worship services this week (Commitment Sunday is October 28th), I want to challenge and encourage each of us to consider making these three things the priority of our lives, as well -- not just in the giving of our finances, but also in the giving of our time and talents. In other words, when you and I learn to put the needs of “Jesus” first, those of “Others” next, and those of “Yourself” (or ourselves) last, we’ll discover true JOY in life!
That’s really the meaning of Verses 18-19 in the scripture above: when you and I are “rich in good works , generous, and ready to share,” then we’re storing up “treasure” for ourselves that enables us to truly “take hold of the life that really is life.” Acts 20:35 says essentially the same thing when it tells us to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Stewardship and generosity, you see, are ways that we can discover the true Joy and blessings of life by discovering correct priorities: Jesus, Others, Yourself.
My prayer is that you’ll join me in committing yourself to be a person of J.O.Y. in all aspects of your life, but at the very least including your financial giving. After all, J.O.Y. is more than an emotional state of mind… it’s a commitment to priorities! Remember, God loves you and I do, too!