I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like nice things…
Money has long been a struggle of mine. I’ve looked at other people, including family members and friends, who have a lot of it (or seem to, because they always have the latest and greatest brand name “whatever”) with envy, and even resentment in some cases. This is especially true if I perceive their spending habits to be borderline squander.
I’ve found myself asking God, “why”.
“Why would He give so-and-so riches and not me? They just go out and spend it on fancy things. If it were me, I’d actually use it to help people in need and build things of value that could make the world a better place. And here I am living paycheck to paycheck, barely able to pay my family’s bills. It’s not fair!”
On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve guilted myself into thinking that the desire for a “comfortable” life where my family is adequately provided for was a horrible, sinful thing and that money is the root of all evil. Here’s what Scripture says:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” 1 Tim. 6: 6-11
The love of money is the root of all evil. In fact, sometimes, YHWH chose to bless people with riches, but only after they sought Him and His ways first. Solomon is the quintessential example.
His prayer after he became king over Israel:
“In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” 1 Kings 3: 5-9
And YHWH’s response:
“And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.” 1 Kings 3: 10-14
YHWH has blessed me so abundantly. I do live a pretty comfortable life in comparison to many. My children are provided for. We have food on the table, a roof over our heads, a king-sized bed to sleep in, and a pretty sweet pool to visit when the weather is warm. We are surrounded by family and friends who love us dearly. We don’t have to wake up to a blaring alarm clock, rush to get out of the house, sit in traffic for hours every day, and go to a job we hate just to put food on someone else’s table while our kids catch every conceivable disease known to man in the giant petri dish known as “daycare.”
Instead, we get to wake up at a reasonable hour (when our bodies say it’s time), eat a healthy breakfast together, spend quality time with our children, and go to work at the local coffee shop where there are lots of windows letting in plenty of natural light (gotta love that Vitamin D!) Not to mention the delicious caffeinated beverages. My mom watches our kids out of the goodness of her heart, because she loves them and wants to help us, and doesn’t ask for anything in return. We have one credit card with a little less than a $4,000 balance, but that’s nothing compared to the school loans, car loans, and other loans that we paid off after the sale of our house in December…
I’d say we’re sitting pretty good. And if I’m honest with myself, having lots of money probably would become a “temptation and a snare” that would lead me away from what really matters…
Yet, from time to time, that ungrateful voice in my ear wants to rear its ugly head, and I find myself quietly spewing resentment at those around me who appear to have more than we do.
Like most of my Israelite brothers and sisters, I am quite forgetful. I forget how much He’s blessed me, not only with material things and basic necessities, but with things many of the richest people in this world sadly don’t have:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt. 6: 19-21
YHWH inspired me with His message, asked me to share it, and I ignored Him for months. I have since repented of that (which is why you’re reading this), but after starting down this path just 11 days ago, I already find myself desiring the things of this world less and less and wanting more of Him every day.
Instead of asking for financial provision (a phrase that has occupied my prayers for quite some time), I will choose to remember how He has always provided in giving us exactly what we need, and to trust that He takes care of his children:
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt. 6: 26-33
And I am making this my prayer for the next 29 days and beyond:
“Father, give your servant an understanding heart to discern between good and bad so that I am not deceived nor led astray from Your path. As I seek to know Your ways and to walk in them, I ask that you would use me for Your glory and for the coming of Your Kingdom on earth. Amen.”
Solomon asked for Heavenly wisdom so that he could effectively carry out the responsibility that was given to him as king over Israel. And as ambassadors to YHWH and His Kingdom, we have an even greater responsibility today.
Are we seeking what is needed to carry it out?
This is day 11 in my 40 Days of Repentance series. Click here to read day 10.