Wise Prayer; July 7, 2021

Proverbs 30:8-9 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?’

This is a remarkable prayer, both for its wisdom and for its rarity. I doubt many people pray this in all honesty! For one thing, the motive for wanting to avoid poverty is very pure. This person evidently had the reputation of being devout, and they recognized that their actions would reflect on the God they were known to serve. We can easily name some prominent Christians who should have kept that in mind! However, it is the desire to avoid wealth, and the devout motive for that, that really stands out. Probably the majority of wealthy people who are in the public eye today have the attitude mentioned here: “Who is the Lord?” It was a terrible shock to Jesus’ disciples when He told them, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23-24) Even so, just about everyone you meet would like to be rich. Since nothing is impossible for God, (as Jesus pointed out in verse 26) there have been exceptions to this. R. G. Le Tourneau, to quote Wikipedia, “was a prolific inventor of earthmoving machinery. His factories supplied LeTourneau machines which represented nearly 70 percent of the earthmoving equipment and engineering vehicles used by the Allied forces during World War II, and more than half of the 1,500-mile (2,414 km) Alcan highway in Canada was built with LeTourneau equipment. Over the course of his life he secured nearly 300 patents relating to earthmoving equipment, manufacturing processes and machine tools.” Naturally, that brought in a lot of money! He started out tithing, that is, giving 10% of his income, but as that income grew, he started increasing the percentage, eventually keeping only 10% and giving 90% to Christian causes. It would be interesting to see what would happen if Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and the like had that kind of faith! Instead, most people tend to dream of that kind of wealth and overlook the disastrous personal lives of such people, not even thinking of the eternal consequences.

I’ve never been in danger of being terribly wealthy, but I have been at risk because of the similar pride of intellect. God dealt with that rather strongly, and He continues to remind me that without Him I am nothing. I have been in very tight straits financially, but thankfully have never seen stealing as a way out of that. God has been amazingly faithful to supply our needs, and continues to do so. I haven’t been sharply aware of this particular prayer, but I’m quite familiar with Paul’s words to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:10) and other NT passages on the subject. As Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11) Not many people realize that’s the context of the very famous verse that follows: “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) I’d bet anything that Bill Gates doesn’t have that kind of peace! My task is simply to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, (Matthew 6:33) walking in obedient faith, for His glory.

Father, I couldn’t begin to enumerate all the ways You have demonstrated Your faithfulness toward me. Thank You. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me to do, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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