“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17 ESV).
The intended audience for this passage of Scripture are those who are “rich in this present age.” You see, it is one thing to possess wealth in the current economy. The real question is how much wealth does one possess in God’s economy? In other words, how many will possess a comparable degree of wealth when they pass from this temporal age into eternity?
This passage thus touches upon two subtle dangers associated with monetary wealth. The first involves haughtiness or arrogance. The second concerns the tendency to place our trust in financial and/or material resources. One author draws our attention to several important applications regarding this verse…
“Two attitudes often mislead the rich. One is the idea that greater monetary wealth indicates greater personal value or worth. The other is the notion that riches guarantee power and security (‘the uncertainty of riches’). Paul warned against both of these conclusions. ‘Those who spend more than they make, trusting that future income will cover their present overspending, are trusting in uncertain riches.’ [a]
…’rich’ people should put ‘their hope’ in the Giver, rather than in His gifts (cf. 4:10; 5:5). God controls these resources. Since He has given them to us (‘who richly supplies us with all things), we can ‘enjoy’ His gifts unselfishly. We can take pleasure in the fact that they free us from certain temptations (cf. Prov. 30:7-9), and they enable us to help others.” (1)
We can also benefit from considering the following perspective…
“Scripture does not say that it is wrong to be rich. Many godly men in the Bible were very wealthy, including Abraham, Job, and King David. What is important is the motivation behind the pursuit of wealth, and then the attitude toward wealth. Those who are rich should use their money to do good deeds, always giving happily to those who are in need. Paul calls that kind of giving the only safe investment in eternity (18-19).” (2)
This explains why Jesus offered the follow instruction…
“Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 CSB).
(1) [a] “The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy.” In The Grace New Testament Commentary, Edited by Robert N. Wilkin. 2 vols. Denton, Tex.: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010. 2:990. Quoted in Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Notes on 1 Timothy 2020 Edition [D. The wealthy 6:17-19] https://www.planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/html/nt/1timothy/1timothy.htm
(2) Dick Woodward, Mini Bible College Study Booklet #14 Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians, I and II Timothy, Titus and Philemon [pg.32] https://mbc.icm.org/