Monday, May 22, 2017

A Money-Making Man

“But you, O man of God, flee from all this” (1 Timothy 6:11).

A few years ago a friend and I wandered into a little café in the Owyhee mountains here in Idaho. We had been fishing all day; it was late and we were tired and hungry.
The first thing I noticed was that the room was filled with loud, rowdy, intoxicated Owyhee county buckaroos. The second thing I noticed was that the room suddenly became ominously quiet and that every eye in the place was fastened on us.
“Shucks,” my friend, Pete said, looking around and then looking at me. “I’m not that hungry; are you?” “Not really,” I agreed. And we vamoosed. Sometimes, it’s best to take one’s hat and run.  

Paul would agree: “You, man of God, flee from all this… (1Timothy 6:11).

Paul had been writing about those who “want to get rich” (1 Timothy 6:9); who are eager to make money (6:10). Then he turns to his young friend Timothy: “You however…flee from all this”—from the notion that making money and buying stuff is all that matters. Rather, he continues “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”

Simply stated, Paul’s argument is this: Who of us can stand before Jesus and say: “I want to be rich.” Far better to say, “I want to be like you.”

David Roper

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Manning Up

Be strong. Let your heart be strengthened; wait for the LORD! —Psalm 27:14

This is a pep talk David gave to himself—all the verbs are singular.

Paul quotes this text, putting a more precise spin on it: "Be a man, be made strong; Let all that you do be done in love" (1 Corinthians 16:13, 14). It's one of my favorite texts.

If you were to ask me why I'm a follower of Jesus I'd be hard-pressed to name all the reasons, but one resides right here: I follow Jesus because I want to become a man.

Clap me on the back and say, "Be a man," and I will square my shoulders and try to man up, for no one has to tell me what it means to be a man: Men are "trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent," to pull up the old Boy Scout Code. They are “physically strong, mentally alert and morally straight.”

Paul adds another trait: Men are loving, which, as it turns out, is the greatest show of strength and the most important attribute of all (cf., 1 Corinthians 13).

I know what I ought to be and I want to do better, but I need help. That's where Jesus comes in. I must "wait" for Him—ask Him to make me into the man I want to be. That's my prayer, all through the day.

“Waiting,” however, implies delay. It takes time to become a man—indeed, a lifetime. I'm still trying to get there.

David Roper


Tuesday, May 16, 2017


The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them. —Psalm 111:2

This verse is inscribed over the entrance to Cavendish Hall, the physic's lab at Cambridge University. It was put there in the day when there was an easy correspondence between science and scripture. It's an invitation to take delight in the world around us and study the mighty works of God, a perspective that’s largely lost these days. 

God's works, however, go beyond natural creation. Honor, beauty, righteousness, grace, compassion, justice, and faithfulness—all virtues are the work of His hands (111:3-9), created to stand "forever and ever," and embodied in Jesus who is "the truth" (John 14:6).

"What is truth?" Pilate asked, when truth was standing right in front of him. If he had taken the time to listen to what Jesus had to say he would have found what he was looking for (John 14:6).

Where should the unknown treasures of the truth
Lie, but there whence the truth comes out the most—
In the Son of man, folded in love and ruth (compassion).

—George MacDonald

David Roper