With a smile and a chuckle, my Dad often tells me,
“Son, always remember, whether you’re rich or poor… it’s nice to have money.”
I always get a kick out of that line. It always makes me laugh.
But lately, I’ve been wondering if I’m too rich.
I hope I’m not too rich.
Seriously. Being rich is bad news. It leads to a set of temptations I don’t want to deal with. Of course, being poor leads to temptations, too, of a different kind.
Consider this prayer from Proverbs:
…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. – Proverbs 30:8-9
See? Both wealth and poverty can lead me astray. But, I’m pretty sure I’m not too poor, so I just hope I’m not too rich. But it’s hard to tell. How do you measure that?
- I have a good paying job and stayed employed during the recession. (Phew!) This job pays me enough to live in a nice house without my wife needing to work. Is that too rich?
- I have 3 cars: Mine, Dawn’s, Haley’s. All old and cheap, but all paid for. Too rich?
- I have 5 watches: Leather. Metal. Black. Brown. Rubber. Hmmm, I might be too rich.
- I have 7 pair of shoes: Black. Brown. Oxblood. Dress. Casual. Running. Flip-flops. Well, I guess that’s not much compared to you ladies. Maybe I’m not too rich.
- I have enough clothes that I never have to wear the same thing twice in a week or more. Maybe I am too rich.
- I have plenty of food – so much, in fact, that I have to run a lot of miles to make sure I don’t become obese like a third of my American adult neighbors (according to the Journal of the American Medical Association).
- I have more entertainment available to me than I could possibly consume.
And this doesn’t even consider all the stuff that I want, want, want.
Yeah, all things considered, I’m in a pretty risky spot.
Why? Because of something Jesus said when He was explaining a parable to His disciples:
The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. – Matthew 13:22
Did you catch that? “The deceitfulness of wealth.” Wealth deceives. It says, “Lon, you’re fine. You don’t need anything. You can take care of yourself. You don’t need that gospel garbage. Who is the LORD, anyway?”
If wealth can blind me to my greatest needs – forgiveness, spiritual rescue, communion with God, a Savior – then the good news Jesus announced (forgiveness and rescue at His cost) will seem as worthless to me as those green, fuzzy left-overs at the back of my plentifully-stocked fridge.
I sure hope wealth hasn’t pulled the money over my eyes.
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