Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Just Out of Reach

Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.
Proverbs 23:4-5

Do not toil to acquire wealth. There are many things you might work hard for in life. You might labor to feed your family or get a degree or even to be able to help out the less fortunate. But this passage doesn't speak against any of those things, only toiling to get wealth. Be discerning enough to desist. It takes discernment not to let greed get the better of you. The next verse tells us why.

When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven. Wealth is like that rabbit that is dangled in front of the dogs at the race track. It hangs there all limp. It appears to be within your grasp. Soon the world will be your oyster. And then, off it flies. Faster than you ever could have imagined. And no matter how fast you run. You simply can't catch it. Only wealth is much more elusive than that rabbit. The Bible says that it flies away like a strong eagle up toward the heavens out of your reach. The truth is that no one really knows the secret to wealth. Though it lights on some favored few in this world, this is due more to God's providence than to personal achievement.

So why exhaust yourself laboring for something that is out of your reach? You shouldn't. Working your fingers to the bone so you can one day be rich is a fool's errand fueled by greed. That's not to say that hard work isn't rewarded in this world. It is, and indeed it was part of God's original good creation. But we were never meant to work to enhance our own glory. (The tower of Babel teaches that point rather clearly.) So work hard, but do it for the Lord. Work hard for your family. Work hard to acquire wisdom. Work hard at sharing the good news of Jesus. But have the discernment not to waste your life chasing something you can never catch by your own power. Instead "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
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