What if I weren’t even talking about being “rich” in the monetary sense? I’m referring to the riches that God commends for us to be rich in and store up for ourselves.
In Luke 12, our Lord Jesus teaches a parable about a rich fool. This man’s field produces so plentifully that his barns and storehouses did not have room for the rest of his crops. He decides to tear down his barns and build bigger ones to hold all the excess. Then he can rest, having plenty to live on for a long time. God responds to the man by calling him a fool, requiring his soul from him that night. God asks him: “What good is all that he stored now?” After the parable, Jesus says: “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (v. 21). There is that word—rich. But this time Jesus contrasts worldly riches with being “rich toward God.” Interesting. What might that mean? Well, 1 Timothy 6:17-19 says this:
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold of eternal life.
We see the word “rich” show up three times in this section. We can make many observations from this passage, but let’s focus on the section that tells us what we should be rich in—namely, to “do good,” being “ready to give,” and “willing to share.” The “good works” are what we should strive to be rich in!
The same sentiment echoes in Ephesians 2:10, where we see that God prepared these good works beforehand that we should walk in them. To be rich in good works will take sacrifice and giving on our part. It will require our time, talent, or treasure, and sometimes all. We have all been gifted, but in different ways. Some have more time than others, while some have been gifted financially or have a specific, unique skill set. Either way, we are to steward well what we have been gifted with and do so for the glory of Christ and the edifying of His Church.
I am in a unique position at ICR where I get a glimpse into God’s children being rich in good works, faithful with what they’ve been gifted, while storing up treasures for themselves eternally at the same time! From the many volunteers giving their precious time in the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History or at ICR events, to the faithful financial supporters and the very uniquely skilled individuals using their talents and craft for the glory of God through ICR—to all of you, I say, “Thank you!” You are an encouragement to me personally and a blessing from the Lord Jesus to the ministry of ICR. Please keep up the good work, and we will, too!
* Mr. Patterson is Chief Financial Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.