January 30, 2017
O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.
In Scripture, if people are going to create some drama around asking God for something big, they usually bring it down to one thing. Rarely does anyone say, “I need two favors.” That’s what we get today in Proverbs 30.
Imagine saying to God. “O.K., Jesus, I need to ask you for two favors.” What would they be? If you told me I could ask the Lord for two favors, my first impulse would likely be to ask for a long life and a lot of money. (Just keeping it real!) It wouldn’t be wise. In summary, the wisdom writer brings it down to two things: Integrity and contentment.
First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Wisdom says, “Make me a truth teller in all things, and when it comes to money, I don’t want to be poor and I don’t need to be rich.”
When I think about it, these are probably the most important “take-aways” from my growing up years. My mom and dad burned four words into me and my two sisters lives, “ALWAYS. . . .TELL. . . . THE. . . . TRUTH.” In other words, Never, ever, ever, ever, lie. The other thing I learned was more from example than something they said. It came from the way they handled money. On the one hand, I was sure we weren’t poor, but on the other hand I knew we weren’t rich. As I reflect on it, here’s what I observed:
1. They never made money an issue. 2. There was never talk about what things cost or what other people had and what we couldn’t afford. 3. At the same time, we lived a comfortable but modest lifestyle. 4. All the while my parents were exceedingly generous. Whether it was always having ample after school snacks for every kid in the neighborhood or making interest free “loans” to people in need (and forgiving the debt when they couldn’t pay it back). Come to think of it, I grew up around a lot of these kinds of people in my hometown.
Here’s the interesting thing about today’s text. Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. The only people who can have any concept of how much “just enough to satisfy my needs” is, are people of profound contentment. They are people who trust God. Here’s the “wise” kicker:
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
Bottom line: When the holy and fearful love of God is our center of gravity we will think a lot less about money. We will grow in the gift of contentment. The corollary is also true. When the love of money is the center of gravity we will think a lot less about God. We will shrink in the grip of greed.
I’ll see you tomorrow in Proverbs 31.
Abba Father, help me to never tell a lie and give me neither poverty nor riches. Teach my spirit the grace of contentment in all things. Then I will be truly wise. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.
- Do you find it hard to pray, “give me neither poverty nor riches?” I found it a little bit of a struggle. Why is that?
2. Have you been around families for whom everything always comes back around to being a money issue? Why is that?
3. What is your disposition around money? Never enough? Always seeking more? Content?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. email@example.com.