Should I pray for poverty or wealth?
Growing up I had one goal. To be rich. When people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would often answer, “The best”. They would ask, “The best at what?” I would respond with whatever I was interested with at the time. I wanted to be the best Major League Baseball Player, NBA star, NFL star, then when it turned out that my 5’10”, 150 lb frame wasn’t going to allow me to be a big sport star, I turned toward business and set my sights on an ivy league school.
We all want success don’t we? That is why we push so hard for school, sports, and relationships. No one wants to be poor or even live day to day. We look at those with nothing and look the other way, perhaps to avoid eye contact or perhaps we don’t want to think of ourselves in that situation. Perhaps it is a fear of being “poor” whatever that means in the United States that drives us to want more. We know that money won’t make us happy, we have watched celebrity after celebrity crash and burn. But they don’t really count, because they have so much more than us. Perhaps we just want the chance to prove money won’t make us happy.
Agur has a different idea for us. He is the author of Proverbs 30. In verses 7-9, he gives us his prayer to live the middle class life.
Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9 lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the LORD?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
He doesn’t want poverty or wealth. He asks God to limit his blessing so it doesn’t become a curse. This could be paraphrased, “Lead me not into temptation.” Sound familiar? It is scary to pray for limited blessing, but perhaps that is what we need. You already know from your own giving that the more you have, the harder it is to increase the numbers of your online giving or your check to Jesus. It’s one thing to give God a dime for the dollar you earned, it a whole other thing to give 10K for every 100K you earned.
What if you just ask God to help your temptation by starting you out with less? Then you wouldn’t be tempted to believe you needed more stuff. This isn’t a “drive by guilting.” It is just what I was reading through today and felt I needed to remind myself. Maybe you need it, too.
Imagine for a moment what life would be like if you could be content with what you have in your middle class-ness. Imagine if when you received more you got afraid as opposed to overjoyed and you looked for ways to give back to God as opposed to upgrading your entertainment system.