by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; —I Timothy 6:17
And seeing this fault reign in us, they have need of this correction that Saint Paul gives here. For he speaks not of an exhortation that is common to all, but that must precisely serve as a medicine to them that presume under color of their riches, and set themselves aloft, and make no more account of the kingdom of God, being too much given to fleeting and fading things.
Therefore Paul says here not to Timothy, that he should command all men without exception to walk humbly and not to put their confidence in fleeting things of this world, but he will have him exhort the rich man in this matter. And why so? Because they have need.
True it is that it is a great irritation to them to be so restrained, for they think they should be spared more than other men; because they stand looking upon their feathers like peacocks, they would have all men to stoop to them, and not to be so bold as to look upon them, not between the eyes and under the brows. Such is the pride of rich men.
But Saint Paul on the other hand, to beat down this pride, says that they that are rich have but a vain appearance and show that passes and vanishes away very quickly. They must not therefore presume because they abound in gold and silver, and have great possessions, for these things shall soon be taken away from them.
And that this is so, what is the life of men, but a very swift race? Is there any such matter then, to give occasion of pride and make them haughty that have riches? For after that Saint Paul has warned that they are rich but for a short time, and that their great wealth shall pass away very quickly, he sets this down beside, that they should behave themselves humbly. —Sermons
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.