Todays readings.. Joshua 10, Isaiah 14, 1 Tim 6
“BUT AS FOR YOU … PURSUE RIGHTEOUSNESS”
Righteousness? In the very earliest translations of the Bible into English this word was spelt right-wise-ness! Interesting – we like to think of it as indicating that the only wise way to live our lives was always to aim to do right – that is, right by God’s standards..
Paul, in concluding his first letter to Timothy tells him that he needs to pursue a ‘right-wise’ way of life. It needs mental energy, a real sense of the right direction on which to focus the eyes of our minds. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom” [Matt. 19 v.23]. There are “riches” of human creation all around us in the world today- as never before!
This is the point Paul is telling Timothy to make to believers while he is living in Ephesus (1 Tim.1 v.3). Paul writes to him saying, “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called …” [v.10-12]
This advice to Timothy is surely for us as well! How do you “take hold” of something? You need both hands! Well, in those days, indeed until about 200 years ago, most individuals who needed to travel some distance had to mount and take hold of the reins of a horse (or a camel or an ass in Bible times) and guide it with firm hands to the desired destination. He had to have a good sense of direction, sign posts were non-existent!
May all of us have such a commitment to living our lives that we “take hold” of the right and wise directions in life, ignoring the distracting human signposts and “the uncertainty of riches” [v.17] but, as Paul advised, to be “rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”[v.18,19] We can only effectively “pursue” that which we have set our eyes (and minds) to look upon! David wrote in Psa. 101 v.3 “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless”, let us do likewise.