Charge them that are rich in this world
Or in the things of this world. The Arabic version reads, "in this present world": in distinction from the world to come: some are poor in this world, and rich in another; others are rich in this world, and poor, and wretched, and miserable in the world to come: some are rich in both worlds, and such were at least some of those the apostle here refers to, who were members of the church at Ephesus, which was a rich city, and some rich men in it were called by the grace of God; and to distinguish these from others, who, though poor in this world, were rich in grace and in spiritual gifts, he so calls them; as well as to observe that their riches were like the world they were in, deceitful, empty, unsatisfying, and perishing: these the apostle would have not only spoke to, instructed, exhorted, and entreated, but strictly charged and commanded, without paying any regard to their worldly grandeur and riches,
that they be not high minded;
the Ethiopic version reads, "that they be not lifted up in this world"; with their wealth and worldly substance, and look down from the height of their honour and riches with contempt upon the poor, entertaining high thoughts of themselves, as if their bodies were of another matter and make, when they have all one Maker, are of one blood, and of the earth, earthly, and must return to it; or as if their souls were more large and capacious, and they were wiser and more knowing, whereas riches are not always to men of understanding, a fool may be rich, and a wise man poor; or as if they were the peculiar favourites of heaven, when, for the most part, God chooses and calls the poor of this world; or as if others were unworthy of their looks, company, and conversation. Riches produce pride; rich men are apt to be proud of themselves, and despise others; and therefore this evil is taken notice of, as what they are to be cautioned against, and charged to the contrary:
nor trust in uncertain riches;
or "in the uncertainty of riches"; they are here today, and gone tomorrow; no man that is possessed of them can be sure of them a moment; they make themselves wings and flee away; he that gives them, can take them away at pleasure: and there are various ways by which they are suddenly, and at once taken from the owners of them; as by loss in trade, by shipwreck, by inundations, by fire, by thieves, &c, and yet men are apt to promise themselves a continuance of them, and to have their dependence upon them, and place their trust and confidence in them, yea, even good men; and that very much to the neglect of, and disregard to the providence of God, which is always best and safest in every circumstance and station of life to depend upon, as follows:
but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
almost every word carries in it an argument or reason why he should be trusted, because he is God, and not a creature; the "living" God, who has life in himself, essentially and originally; is the author, giver, and maintainer of life in others; and who always is, ever continues unchangeably the same: and "giveth all things"; every good gift comes from him; all the gifts of nature, and bounties of Providence; and as he gives, he can take away, and therefore should be only regarded; and he gives all things "richly", largely, and plenteously; what is necessary and convenient, and abundantly more than men deserve: and that "to enjoy"; not to lay up, but to use for support, refreshment, and pleasure, though not to abuse.