With unemployment skyrocketing and more people without a regular income, the advice of King David from more than 2,900 years ago provides sage advice.
” . . . and if your wealth increases
don’t make it the center of your life.” (NLT)–Ps. 62.10b
This verse begs the question: Why not? Of course, in this context, King David, who wrote the verse above, is talking about the increasing wealth from extortion and robbery. But he also understands the immense temptations of increasing wealth, especially of new, increased wealth. He is a student of human nature and has had experience seeing what sudden, increased wealth can do to people. So I believe that this speaks to a wider increase of wealth.
Many believe that an increase in wealth would solve most if not all of their problems.The popularity of this view can be demonstrated from the statistics of state lottery sales. Everyone wants to win–and win big! So they spend millions. According to one source, since New Hampshire began the first lottery back in 1964, 200 billion in U.S. and Canadian revenues has been raised. Last year, 2010, USA lottery sales totaled 58 billion. Among the states, New York and Massachusetts gained the most with sales of 6.2 and 4.5 billion respectively.** Many have placed their hopes in hitting it big.
Without heeding the word of wisdom in the above verse, a sudden windfall of new wealth could consume a person. Granted a thousand or even ten thousand might not affect a person, but what if somebody wins above their ability to navigate the dangers of sudden wealth? Or what if the gain outruns that person’s character? Money could become the center of that person’s life. The heart and attention would be deflected from God. That person’s soul could be forfeited.
Jesus said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37For what can a man give in return for his soul?” –Mark 8:36–37 (ESV)
Nothing is as important as the soul of a man or woman. No amount of money is worth forfeiting the gift of God. Biblical warnings, if acted upon, can protect those whose wealth increases.
Wealth can be both a blessing and a curse. Love of money, not money itself, is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6.10 & Heb. 13.5). So we’re duly warned not to set our hearts on increased wealth. If money becomes the center of focus, we lose. If we trust in our money instead of God, who provides every good and perfect gift, then we can easily become twisted in our souls. We can grow incrementally, greedy. We can feel invulnerable. We may deceive ourselves into thinking that we are somehow more important than someone who has less. We run the risk of forgetting where we came from. We can become self-important.
Sudden wealth can as easily be a wonderful blessing from God. The risks of misplaced trust can be overcome.King David gave us the key: “Don’t make it the center of your life.” Blessing attends wealth if the heart is fixed on God and others.
Wealth can be a blessing to many as it flows through the person who has placed quiet confidence in God alone as his/her rock of protection and provision. That way, with or without wealth, we are not only rich, but FREE!
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> My Prayer in Response to the Above Insight >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Father, it is very difficult sometimes to live without regular income in a world and time as expensive as ours; but Lord, you are my portion. With you, I have confidence that me and my family “will lack no good thing.” Father, should you increase our wealth, please guard our hearts. I desire that nothing distract me from holding you as my center and portion. Should wealth increase, grant me the wisdom and character to use it wisely and keep it in its proper place. May my gaze always be on You. May You alone always be my Rock and Refuge. I choose today no to trust in wealth (or money). Protect those around me in the same way. And should you choose to withhold and keep our daily trust in your provision, we will continue to praise and worship your great wisdom and daily generosity.
©2011, David C Alves, from my Journal, day 11-18-10
- Money Matters? (missionmusings.wordpress.com)
by David C AlvesI’m thinking about dissipation and distraction. And what made me think of that? I just updated my current reading list. In so doing, I noticed that I’m reading too many books at once. I can’t recall when I started doing this. I used to read one book at a time. I’m not sure if everyone does this or just me. What’s behind this?
Is it that we’re getting older and realizing that time is at a premium? That we might not get to finish all the books that interest us? Or . . . do we have a shorter attention spans? And need to spread our interests across a wider palette? Sampling here and there? For me, maybe it’s from attending too many covered dish dinners in the past thirty-four years of church ministry–you go down the line and take a little of this and a little of that. Then go back for 2 or 3 helpings of whatever I found to be most appealing.
In any case, reading 5 or 6 or 7 books at once may be a source for my lack of intellectual focus these days. I seem to be interested in more things than I can read about at once. This produces in me a feeling of being scattered–always feeling that more than one book is demanding my attention. But, I’m going to try to whittle my list down over the next six months. Let’s see if I can do it. I wonder if I can ever get my current reading down to 2!
Although in my own defense (against my own concerns), usually one book is devotional reading, one is ministry related, and one is personal. In my current list, two are ministry reading and three are personal. I know I can shave several books and limit myself to three. So . . . I’m going to do it! Just like I’m going to follow through with my eating, exercise, weight goal at LoseIt.com.
What about you? What’s your list look like? Maybe you need to narrow your focus and whittle your list? I wonder if we’ll feel less scattered, dissipated or distracted by setting and keeping a more limited number of books in our current reading stack?