STATE OF THE HEART
“For richer or poorer, in sickness and health, in good times and bad …” — Traditional Marriage Vows
Sometimes people on television deliver advice on how to become wealthy. They tell you about your potential, your destiny, or God’s reward for your behavior. Any of these, depending on the charlatan or shyster of the hour, can lead to a home in the Hamptons and four-car garage.
The worst of these peddlers are those who find some obscure scriptural reference to proof-text why you too will grow filthy rich.
“God wants you to be rich,” they thunder or suggest, depending on the audience.
“He promises to bless.” This, supposedly, means anyone of sincere faith who believes enough will fall into the highest tax bracket. Eventually.
The real problem with this line of thinking about God is that it misses what he cares about. Rich or poor, God’s concern rests on the condition of a person’s heart.
But this doesn’t play as well on a larger social psyche. Few of us get geeked up hearing a preacher or cleric shout, “God wants you to love him so much you’ll give away all you own! God wants you to love him more than everyone else in your life!”
Is this not what God wants? The numerical value of the money the widow gave did not pique Jesus’ interest; the proportion of that amount to her net worth did. She had little, and of what she had, she gave her all. She wanted to give to God. She wanted to give all of what she had, even if it counted little in our economy.
God cared greatly about how Job responded to him in the midst of his loss.
Throughout Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, God’s continued to stress the idea of remembering: “Do not forget him who blesses as you enjoy the blessing. Do not forget with whom you have a relationship.”
Where does our commitment lie? With a person or a possession?
What love do we nurture more – the love for God or the lust for wealth and concomitant status?
God knew from the outset we’d always struggle to love him, even our neighbors, as much as we love possessions. As if to say, “… and one more thing for you to remember as you go,” God gave as the last of his commandments the admonition to not covet.
The first commandment? Love God above all else. The last? Don’t love things. Remember, he says with the first. Do not forget, he says with the last.
What commandment(s) hadn’t the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-24 kept?
How can we gauge what is closest to our hearts?
What do we find there when we do take inventory of what we value?
© Revolworks 2006