A day or so after Christmas I overheard a lady greeting a child she obviously knew. “Hello!” Did you have a nice Christmas? What did you get?” What did you get?! Has the celebration of God’s greatest gift to us of a Saviour become a festival of getting? I imagine that eBay and charity shops are quite busy after Christmas with so much stuff people get but didn’t really want or need. So, what do we really want or need?
Agur, whose sayings make up chapter 30 of the Book of Proverbs answers that question thus:
“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: 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?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God”.
Agur tells us what he doesn’t want, namely neither poverty nor riches. If he has riches he may have too much and disown God, casting off any dependence on, and trust in, him. On the other hand, poverty might force him to steal and so dishonour the name of his God. In his wisdom, Agur sees that both riches and poverty can lead him into sin, so he shuns both. Instead he is satisfied with his daily bread. That’s the safe way; it’s what Jesus taught us to ask for.
Paul wrote to Timothy (I Tim 6:6): “godliness with contentment is great gain”. So, on that note, may I wish you every blessing throughout 2020, with neither riches nor poverty.
Your brother in Christ,
PS In our national life may the Lord also keep falsehood and lies far from us!