Proverbs 23:1-5 (NRSV)
When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you have a big appetite. Do not desire the ruler’s delicacies, for they are deceptive food. Do not wear yourself out to get rich; be wise enough to desist. When your eyes light upon it, it is gone; for suddenly it takes wings to itself, flying like an eagle toward heaven.
Chesterton wrote, “There are two ways to get enough; one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.” How does this translate into our worship life as Christians? If thoughts of material things command the greater part of our attention and energy, can we really be serving and worshipping the Master as we should? I find that as I ascribe worth and honor to our loving and sovereign God, he allows me to desire less of the distractions, less of the other gods. But the struggle for the throne continues. -Chip Stam
Seek not great things for yourselves in this world, for if your garments be too long, they will make you stumble; and one staff helps a man in his journey, when many in his hands at once hinders him. – William Bridge
You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.
– Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Matthew 6:24 (NRSV)
Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Many Christians and Christian leaders have been neutralized by the love of money and materialism. The homage paid to affluence becomes a burden that saps our energy as well as our love for God and other people. Though repentance and the cleansing of forgiveness, we can rid ourselves of this burden and begin to let God transform our value system. Like Jesus and Paul, we can learn to be content with what we have, living modestly in order that we may give liberally to the work of the kingdom and to meet the needs of others. -John Wimber
Theirs is an endless road, a hopeless maze,
who seek for goods before they seek for God. – Bernard of Clairvaux
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give.
I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.
– C.S. Lewis
Luke 15:11-12 NRSV
There was a man who had two sons.
The younger of them said to his father,
“Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.”
So he divided his property between them.
How brazen the lad, we say. How selfish. He doesn’t love his father; he just wants his stuff. And the older son is no better. When the wayward son returns, the older son complains, “You haven’t even given me so much as a goat.” He doesn’t care for his father either. He just wants stuff. Both the sons distance themselves from the father, the older son by his bitterness as much as the younger by his leaving town. Neither one of them expresses love for the father. How like us they are. I wonder if God’s deepest sadness is that God’s beloved children don’t seem to want God; we just want God’s stuff. How many of our prayers to God are for stuff—fix this disease, thanks for that sunset, protect my child, find me a job. What if instead our deepest prayer were simply “Hold me close?” – Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Prodigal Son
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