Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven. Prov. 23:4-5
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Tim. 6:8
But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:20-21
Dear heavenly Father, we've been in a stressful economic season in the last several years. Some of us who thought we'd be retired in a couple of years are now thinking it's ten, if ever. All of us have friends who have lost jobs, even homes. Marriages have been stressed to the point of ending, and some are being tempted to steal for the first time. Others of us are holding tighter to our stuff than ever---even exerting great energy just to get more. Lord, we need wisdom for ourselves and for our friends.
Father, though the issues vary and we dare not generalize, bring the perspective of the gospel to bear as we think about our relationship to "stuff" and money. When did we first assume the right to excess? Why did we think only first-century Christians would be the only followers of Jesus who would actually pray for daily bread? How did we ever get used to having so much stuff to the point that we actually equate abundance with "need"?
In our "iWorld" of new gadgets and cool widgets, help us to ponder the reality that over half of the population on the earth exists on three of our American dollars, or less, a day. Father, help us only to glance at riches rather than setting our gaze on them. Give us restraint, Lord Jesus. Give us contentment in you.
Holy Spirit, if we would wear ourselves out for anything, let it be to become rich---heart-satisfying rich toward God (Luke 12:20-21). May the gospel so penetrate our hearts that we cry out with spontaneous joy, "Who do I have in heaven but you, O Lord, and being with you I desire nothing on the earth . . . You are my portion, sovereign Lord."
Lord Jesus, you who were outrageously rich in all things became incomprehensibly poor for us, so that we, who were desperately poor in sin, might be made immeasurably rich in grace. May your free grace be our currency of choice. Freely have we received all things from you; freely may we give. So very Amen we pray, in your most enriching and liberating name.