Take Hold – Br. David Allen

1 Timothy 6:1-12

Our First Reading began with several general assumptions, things such as slavery taken for granted as inevitable parts of life in the period of history for which it was written.  But life has changed and history has moved on.  Nevertheless there are lessons to be learned from this narrative when we apply it to our present generation.

We know from our study of history that slavery has been recognized as an abuse of human rights.  It has been outlawed now in most parts of the world for over a hundred years or more.  But we can see that we still have employee and employer relationships that amount to a kind of slavery.  Abuse of human rights can still be seen and viewed from the standpoint of Jesus’ teachings and brought into line with true godliness and mutual respect for one another’s humanity.

I think we know from our own observation of human relationships that there are those in our own generation who engage in “morbid craving for controversies and for disputes about words.” (1 Tim. 6:4a)  We can still read in our newspapers about “envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind bereft of the truth.” (v.4b)

To counteract these abuses we can benefit from the reminder that “we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it.” We can meditate on the thought that “if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.” (vv. 7-8)

We can contemplate the often misquoted saying, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” (v. 10)

When we reach the last part of the reading that we heard this morning we can be stirred to a greater devotion to the teachings of Jesus Christ.  “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (vv. 11-12)

This last sentence is something we can remember when we find ourselves surrounded by contentions in the world around us, or discouraged by the burdens with which we are sometimes faced.  “Take hold of eternal life”.  This is a promise and a hope that we can hold before us as we go forward in the faith that comes to us by the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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  1. David Yeomans on October 4, 2017 at 09:46

    We are promised eternal life as if it were some “pie in the sky,” or our having passed security clearance to board the vessel that will transport us to heaven. But thinking theologically, we are living in eternal life in the here and now, and heaven is all around us if we take the time to observe it as such.

    The embryo in the mother’s womb is a living being, and its birth is but another phase of its life. Similarly, our salvation after death is a continuing phase of our lives, but in a new dimension. It’s amazing, as one of our clergy put it, that so many people who are firm believers in the miracle of Christ’s resurrection, and marvel at the wonders of God’s creation can nonetheless be so fearful of their own death and what, if anything, will happen to them afterwards.

    “Take hold of eternal life,” hammer it into your body, mind, and spirit, and trust in its promises so abundantly given us from above! As Jesus told us in Mark 5:36, “Do not be afraid, only believe.” What more do we want?

  2. margo fletcher on October 3, 2017 at 08:54

    At the risk of introducing controversy, the figures on ‘human trafficking’ tend to give us a rather different picture of modern day slavery than the one suggested here.

  3. Patricia on June 24, 2015 at 00:24

    “Take hold of eternal life”. This is a promise and a hope that we can hold before us as we go forward in the faith that comes to us by the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Take Hold. I love that phrase. It is so active and requires our full participation. It is a gift and a responsibility to take hold in my view.

  4. anders on June 22, 2015 at 14:43

    Taking hold of eternal life sounds like something to participate in in this time and place and it is empowering. I struggle however with what follows: “for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” The church witnesses of my past may have spoken of righteousness, godliness, faith, love and endurance, but instead shamed and deadened the eternal life within me. Today I am learning gratitude that they didn’t kill it. Perhaps they helped me to keep it safe for the Holy Spirit to work through me in a future times and space, which is the Now in which I find myself, and it is good.

  5. Ruth West on June 21, 2015 at 09:49

    Short and to the point. “Take hold of eternal life.”
    Only through the Holy Spirit can we do this. Thanks for this good sermon. May God bless you today.

  6. DLa Rue on March 27, 2012 at 03:45

    Pithy and succinct. Thank you, as always, for your insights.

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