One of my favorite Bible passages is Proverbs 30:8-9:
Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.
Give me neither poverty nor wealth;
feed me with the food I need.
Otherwise, I might have too much
and deny You, saying, “Who is the LORD?”
or I might have nothing and steal,
profaning the name of my God.
In our materialistic Western society, we are encouraged to constantly acquire and consume. If we could sum up our modern culture in one word, I think that word would be “more”.
I don’t want to live like that. Jesus taught that we would have to forsake everything we have (Mark 10:17-21), even our own families (Luke 14:26); perhaps even our own lives. Following Christ is not about “more” in this life, but rather about “less”. Whatever we add to our life on earth complicates our mission for the kingdom. Houses bring mortgages, cars and boats bring repairs and maintenance and investment bring stress and time-consuming diligence. Every material gain brings with it a set of responsibilities that requires we take our focus and attention off of that which we should be doing. Satan uses the treasures of this world to blind us to the eternal riches of God. Therefore, I pray that I would have “just enough” to care for the needs of my family and myself. Anything beyond that and I might be tempted to indulge in the cares of this world.
If we are blessed beyond having “just enough”, I believe it is our duty to use any excess to support the work and needs of others. There are many outstanding ministries who are taking the message of Jesus to the most remote places on earth. Many others feed and clothe the poor, some rescue slaves and infiltrate human trafficking rings. These are worthy causes that require enormous amounts of funding to accomplish their tasks. If the Lord should bless us with more than we need, we should use the extra money entrusted to us to further the mission of Christ. If we do not discipline ourselves to be good stewards of all that He entrusts us to manage, we will find it too easy to be tempted by the shiny objects of this world.
I am not of the belief that we should give to the point of leaving our own families destitute. We are commanded to care for our families throughout Scripture (Isaiah 58:6-7; I Timothy 5:8). This is where the “don’t give me too little” comes in. We ask for enough to provide for the needs of those in our care so that we will not be tempted to steal from others or to become bitter about our circumstances. We should never be comparing ourselves with anyone else, because that will stir up jealousy and hatred. Instead, pray for “just enough” and be content with what God gives you. Remember, He knows what you need and is faithful to provide (Luke 12:27-35).
We need no more than we need; we might want more, but that is selfish thinking that is not focused on the mission. We were not created to consume and hoard, but rather to give and to share. These are some of the good works Christ has given us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10). As you review your finances, ask the Lord to give you “just enough”. Don’t desire riches, but should you find them, remember to use them to further the mission of Christ, not to pad your bank account and live in luxury. To those who are given much, much is required (Luke 12:48). Let us be generous people, always reflecting the beauty, the love, and the glory of Christ.