Despite our best western efforts to wriggle out of the implications of some of the things Jesus taught about money, there’s no getting away from an intrusive truth that barges into our culture of accumulation and achievement addiction.
The richest man or woman on earth is not the one with the most money!
In earthly terms, maybe? But at a living, breathing, heart, and soul level you can gain the whole world and yet completely miss the point. No man is poorer than the person who does not know Jesus.
I often wonder if we pursued contentment and gratitude with the save avid intent we chase dollars how much richer we would become. Instead of tomorrow’s hope of more-bigger-and-better stealing today’s joyful appreciation of all we have to be thankful for right now, our lives would overflow with a grateful recognition of God’s provision that trumps any earthly accolade.
And to be clear, I’m not against making money. Far from it. I believe that exchanging value is a God-sanctioned necessity through which we are equipped to serve others well and for the long term. Pitifully-poor is not pretty, nor is it inherently any more spiritual or holy than blisteringly-rich.
Here’s a statement of truly rich living:
“Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. ” (Philippians 4:11-12 AMP)
Elsewhere Paul instructed his apprentice, Timothy, and shared with him the little-known secret of the prosperous life:
“But if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content (satisfied).” (1 Timothy 6:8 AMP)
How far removed from the relentless pursuit of stuff that overwhelms our almost every waking moment. What a magnificent ambition to focus on – rich, full, refreshing contentment.
The endless bombardment to become rich, make more, be more, grow big, find followers, feel good, is so contrary to the peaceful pace of grace advocated in the Scriptures.
Here on one side we have the world with its mammon-size measuring stick judging your worth by the number of zero’s at the end of the bottom line number.
On the other, the owner of the entire universe warns…
“Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19–21 AMP)
Money is a heart issue. Attach your hopes and dreams to it, and it will run you off into the sunset, and soon enough into the dark of night. It parades itself as the promiser of a satisfied life, but rarely if ever delivers lasting satisfaction.
Too little, or too much, can compel us to forsake contentment and rage ourselves silly on the hamster-wheel of ambition.
The richest man is the one who wants for nothing.
I’m pretty sure that “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want,” (Psalm 23:1 NKJV) doesn’t mean that God will lavish upon me all I desire to the point of saturation, where there is not one more “want” I can muster to ask for.
“I shall not want,” quite frankly, sounds like an invitation to a peaceful existence freed from the painful pursuit of transitory things.
It speaks of a life so embraced by the Shepherd’s care that I no longer care what anyone else thinks.
It’s the day we awake to the truth that not only do we already have enough, we are enough! No additives required.
When was the last time you sat down secure, satiated fully by the Father’s overwhelming love?
When do you take time to lie back and float in the warm, still waters of wantlessness?
I think there’s treasure in those wantless waters that many of us have never tasted. The world can splash in the bloody and restless oceans all they like, but as for me and my house, I choose to follow my Shepherd to satisfactions the world can never offer.