Neither Poverty Nor Riches

J. D. Conley
May 18, 2014

The wise, pensive and Divinely inspired Solomon said, "...give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain" (Pro.30:7-9).

The thought expressed is a most noble one. Nearly everyone would petition God to keep them free from poverty. No one wants to be poor and in dire straits regarding the necessities of life. But how many would sincerely pray that God would refrain from granting them riches? Not many. In fact, a lot of folks plead with God to make them rich in this world's goods, completely misunderstanding the New Testament's teaching concerning prayer, (cf. Mt.7:7-8, Jn. 14:13-14, et al). Though we have been instructed by our Lord to pray for the necessities of life, (Mt.6:11), nor to worry over them, (Mt.6:25-33), nowhere in the Scriptures are we told to ask God for earthly riches. James warned against selfish prayers saying, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (Jas.4:3). Even though king Solomon lived in opulence it is commendable that he adopted this attitude about earthly wealth. He understood that riches can serve to detract not only from our dependence on God, but even our love for Him.

Even though the United States is experiencing a stagnant economy, and prices on goods and commodities are rising, we fare sumptuously every day. We eat rich foods, drive nice vehicles, have closets full of clothes, sleep in warm beds and live in comfort. By the world's standards we are rich, yet for some, its still not enough. Its astounding that even some of our own citizens resort to stealing to obtain more, and even curse God for not having more than they do already. How would such covetous people cope should poverty strike? Hopefully, we as Christians have learned to have Paul's mindset, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need" (Phi.4:11-12). Contentment is the lesson Paul learned. Contentment was Solomon's request. Contentment is the fulcrum of life. Let contentment be our prayer.