Neither Poverty Nor Riches

“Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (Proverbs 30:8-9 ESV). 

Not long ago, the lottery was up over a billion dollars. I’ve never been the kind to “play” the lottery. I’ve always felt that given the odds, it was a waste of a couple of bucks.

But when I was invited to join the office pool, I had the thought that I would just hate myself if I was the only one left at my place of employment while my friends and acquaintances worried how they would spend their share.

So I pulled two $1 bills from my wallet and signed my name to the sheet. I didn’t really expect to win, though it would have been nice in some respects. Truthfully, though, I’m not certain.

We are all affected by money, or the lack thereof. The inevitability comes wrapped wrapped in skin. The psalmist, Agur, would call this vanity and lies.

It is vanity to assume that one would remain unchanged, as an individual or as a believer, by a sudden influx of money. “I would be able to do so much good!” I used the word assume as most of us couldn’t predict how we would react, what we would do. There certainly are people who have given away everything they have gotten, though they are few and far between.

And while many who have found themselves lottery winners had good intentions, a large portion have found themselves penniless in just a few short years. 

Vanity and lies.

It’s also easy to believe the lie that if one just had “a little more”, he would be happy and secure, with everything he would ever need. Once the world’s richest man, John D. Rockefeller was asked, “How much money is enough money?” He replied, “Just a little bit more.” 

I would never wish poverty on my worst enemy; but I’m not sure if I would wish extreme wealth on anyone either. Poverty can lead to extreme behavior. Extreme wealth can lead to arrogance and apathy.

Contentment has been a steady theme for me this last month or two. I’m certainly learning and growing in this season. I am also confident that God has been working on some of you as well. This may be the most difficult time of year to learn that lesson, but there are plenty of opportunities to practice!

Blessings on your week!

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