What keeps you from serving the Lord more than you are already doing? Is there a lack of understanding about what you are learning about service for Christ, or are there matters that get in the way. We want to believe that it is a simple as making a declaration, “I will serve the Lord!” If only were it that simple.
In 1 Timothy, note that the hindrances that kept those in the church from serving the Lord was best described by the final verse of the chapter, “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding irreverent, empty speech and contradictions from the ‘knowledge’ that falsely bears that name. By professing it, some people have deviated from the faith. Grace be with all of you” (1 Timothy 6:20-21). The people being described here are those who teach false doctrine and who are greedy and selfish–those who are unrighteous and who are not content in their lives.
At the start of the chapter (1 Timothy 6:1-2), Paul talks about how one should work for another on behalf of the Lord and not just because one is a believer or a non-believer, or because of one’s status. God’s testimony before man is what is at stake, especially before non-believers (Colossians 3:22-23). After all, failure to work or respectful to those we report to is irresponsible and can have negative consequences (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12; Titus 1:16). In contrast, we who serve in our work are “to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
Paul also points out to Timothy about the prevalence of false teaching and the unwillingness of those who are beyond correction. Their motivations are suspect and selfish (1 Timothy 6:3-5). Their purpose may be in financial gain, unhealthy interests, or even controversy and strife. These individuals need to be content with where they are in life (1 Timothy 6:6-8; Philippians 4:10-13). In one’s contentment, you are more open to what God is trying to teach you. If you are constantly involved in controversy and strife, you can’t be receptive or open to His teaching. One should never equate riches with contentment. “But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). See also Matthew 6:24, 33-34.
Timothy was implored to flee from those with wrong thinking and to pursue Christ and righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11-12):
1. Pursue righteousness over controversy and quarreling.
2. Your actions are to be Christlike.
3. Show forth faith and not evil suspicion, especially if there is no supporting evidence.
4. Love others instead of creating friction between you and others.
5. Endure as you move forward. There is much to deal with because of ongoing pressures and conflicts. It is not about your personal gain. Persevere.
6. Be gentle in working with others.
“Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life, to which you were called and have made a good confession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12). We have to pursue our faith with boldness and not allow others to hinder the gospel with their selfish actions. Remember who you became when you accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. We are to “keep the commandment without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:14).
Paul’s command to those who have wealth (1 Timothy 6:17-20):
1. Not to be arrogant.
2. Not to put trust in money.
3. To do good with their wealth.
4. Not to lay up treasures for themselves.
Our work has value when we do our work for the Lord. At times, we have to overcome and persevere over those who give us difficulty with false teaching, false doctrine, and those that are contentious and uncooperative. Our source of contentment in all that we do comes from Jesus Christ. In our contentment, there is a confidence that we have through the Holy Spirit that gives us the ability to serve under the gospel of Christ.