Wednesday, 17 January 2018
But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. 1 Timothy 5:6
In what could be considered typical apostle Paul abruptness concerning doctrine, he now introduces a thought concerning the worldly widow which contrasts with the true widow of the previous verse who “trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.” Instead of such a troubled soul, who has turned her whole hope for comfort to the Lord, there is another type of widow who “lives in pleasure.” The Greek word is used only here by Paul, and once by James (5:5). It is one who lives in a wanton fashion, or indulges in unneeded surplus. The idea is less of sexual indulgence, and looks more to wasteful living. Whatever she received from her dead husband is simply squandered away without a care or a thought. Fast living and excess define her situation.
For such a perverse soul, Paul says that she “is dead while she lives.” In Romans 8, Paul shows the contrast between living carnally and living according to the Spirit. In verse 13, he says, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” A person who lives for their flesh is fulfilling temporary, vain things. All food is temporary to the body, all clothes wear out, all purchases for indulgence can be stolen or burned up in a fire. In the end, when it is all gone, there is nothing left – not even a hope in God to sustain the body and the soul. The contrast is amazing, and yet it is a contrast which has been seen from one generation after the next for all of human history. There is nothing of learning for those whose minds are blinded by the temporary pleasures of this world.
Life application: We have two accounts running at the same time. There is our earthly existence which accumulates things for whatever purpose we think they will serve. And we can accumulate heavenly treasures in hopes of an existence beyond this life. The earthly things will all come to an end. If that is where our hope is, the filling of that account was a vain and pointless venture. For those who are wise, they will save what is right now (save for your children’s children it says in Proverbs 13:22), but they will expend their greater energy in saving up for that which is eternal.
Lord God, what point is heaping up treasure in this world? We can’t take a thing with us, and even while we remain, the things we have can be stolen, lost, or burned up. It is a vain and pointless thing to hope for abundant wealth on our deathbed. But there is treasure which is eternal. Help us to accumulate that. May we glorify You now, praise You now, pursue You now, and seek after You now – all in hopes of the great and true wealth to be found on eternity’s vast shore. Give us this wisdom. Amen.