September 24, 2014
Today’s reading: Proverbs 30:5-9
Agur, the son of Jakeh, the Massaite, asks God: “give me neither poverty nor riches” (v.8b). The world today desires riches and disdains poverty. The poor want to be rich, thinking that is the solution to their problems in life. But oftentimes riches bring its own woes. One thing it does is to make humankind dependent upon itself and no longer on God. Their situation leads them to this point in relation to God: “being full, I deny you, saying, ‘Who is the Lord?’” (v.9a). You can see how the prosperous western world, especially the once-vibrant Christian nations, has turned away from God, who has become irrelevant in their lives.
On the other hand, the poor, with no one to turn to, usually at the end of their wits in desperation, are more prone to turn to God. After all, for many people, when they see no light at the end of the tunnel, that is when they remember God and turn to Him. But poverty is not God’s will. God created an abundant world and desires prosperity for His covenanted people. Poverty also forces many into a life of crime due to desperation. Their situation can lead them to this point in relation to God: “being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God.” (v. 9b).
So neither poverty nor riches (with independence from God) is God’s will. What then? It is sufficiency. It is for God to “provide me only with the food I need” (v.8c). It is being provided what we need in life, not just food of course, but also shelter, clothing and the other basic necessities of life. In other words, what is the Christian ideal? It is that no one is in need.
Of course, if God knows we can already handle it, then He will also give us more, including wealth. After all, He is a loving Father who wants the best for His children, and has actually provided a bountiful world for them. But that is up to God. What is up to us is our own posture. We must desire neither poverty nor riches, but only a life that is pleasing to God. It is a life focused on Him and serving Him, and not on worldly goods. It is a life of sharing and caring.
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