Sunday, February 13, 2011

Or I May Become Poor and Steal

From Every Square Inch Blog:

How much is too much when it comes to wealth? Even though most of us have more than what we need to sustain a basic lifestyle, we are typically clamoring for better than what we have right now. It's unthinkable that we would pray to God to limit his blessing to us but it's exactly what we discover in Proverbs 30:7-9. Two things are asked for. The first is the protection from falsehoods but it's the second part of the request that I find most intriguing - "give me neither poverty or riches".

“Two things I ask of you, LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God"

This is presented to us as the prayer of a wise man, yet I would venture that most (if not all) of us have never even considered praying such a prayer - "give me neither poverty or riches, but give me only my daily bread". We would never consider to ask God to only give us what we need for today and no more - no "rainy day" fund, no nest egg for retirement, no set-aside for dream vacation, etc... Popular preacher Francis Chan elaborates on Proverbs 30:7-9 in this short, provocative video.

Is this a blueprint for how we ought to pray and live? How does this mesh with the conventional wisdom of saving and planning? Would you have the courage to pray this prayer and how would you respond if God actually answered?

It's easy to get lost in the myriad of questions that arise but don't lose sight of the God-centered motivation of this prayer request. It's all about God - not having too little so as to avoid the temptations that come with being impoverished - yet, not having too much such that God is no longer desired and possibly forgotten. This passage is about treasuring God and the worth of His name and not letting anything get in its way. Perhaps that's the kind of motivation we might be wise to incorporate into our prayers.

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