O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name. ~Proverbs 30:7-9 NLT
In this interesting prayer, the writer pleads with God for two very particular things. First, that he would not tell lies. This is a Biblically-supported request. In Exodus 20:16 and again in Deuteronomy 5:20, the Lord makes it clear that he expects you to tell the truth:
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Secondly, this petition asks God to provide contentment, rather than poverty or great material blessing. He predicts that great wealth could cause him to deny God’s involvement in his success, or perhaps even deny that God exists.
Americans are awash in material wealth, compared to the rest of the world. Worldly riches may, in fact, be the biggest factor in our culture that undermines authentic Christianity.
What if he has too little? He fears he might be tempted to steal, which is also a behavior condemned by the Lord in Exodus 20:15 and Deuteronomy 5:19:
You shall not steal.
The answer, according to this passage, is contentment. Consider 1 Timothy 6:2-10:
These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Money is neutral: it isn’t good or evil. It is the love of money that is wrong and causes so many troubles.
Are you content to be neither poor nor rich? If you have been seeking riches rather than the kingdom of God, repent! Tell the Lord you’re sorry, and change your mind on the subject. Ask him to give you contentment today about financial matters, and allow him to free you from the chains of selfish ambition.