There is a danger to wealth.
The Bible expresses the danger in a few different ways:
In Proverbs, Agur seeks neither poverty nor riches. His desire to avoid riches is two-fold. First, he fears that he may have too much and disown God. Second, he may ask, “Who is the Lord?”. (Prov. 30:8-9).
In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are encouraged to be cautious as they settle in a land full of wells they did not dig along with vineyards and olive groves they did not plant. The land is full of good things so the warning is this: do not forget the Lord your God. (Deut. 6:10-12).
There is something about plenty that may tempt us to forget God and find confidence in ourselves and not in God.
Here’s an average day in the life of Craig:
I wake up and get hungry. I grab food off the shelf and eat. Around noon every day, my hunger signals for my attention, and I open the fridge to see what’s to eat. At dinner, I reach into the freezer to find some meat that will compliment our meal.
There is a spiritual danger in having everything I want, when I want it, and how I want it.
Some of the deepest spiritual blessings only come when we are in a place of need.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for they will see God” (Mt. 5:3).
The poor in Spirit are those who have been broken by the events of life. They’ve looked into their strength and found it insufficient for the tasks of life. As a result, they’ve been forced to look elsewhere for a Source and a Power that can sustain them through life. Those who are spiritually needy will see God. They’ll find him to be their strength. They will see God as the provider he is.
We all need the desert to teach us so we can learn to live in the Promised Land.
God could have lead the people directly from Egypt to the Promised Land. He could have found or created a pathway through lush forests with an abundance of water. However, God led them through the desert. Time and time again, the people learned one very important lesson:
God will provide.
They were forced to rely on God’s provision for water. They were forced to rely on God’s provision for manna.
God did provide.
In the desert we are taught to rely on God. However, in an environment of wealth and abundance we can easily fool ourselves into thinking we provide for ourselves.
How do we remember God when the refrigerator is full?
- Pray before eating. We pray before every meal. We tell our kids it’s to thank God for all he has given us. What we own doesn’t come from work; it comes from God.
- Place ourselves in a position of need. This could be through fasting or through an unusually large gift or something similar. Willingly follow God into situations where you don’t know how the story will work out so your only option is to trust him. As we do this, we need to be sure we are not testing God.
- Transfer ownership. Get in the habit of calling your house God’s house. Get in the habit of calling your car God’s car. I’ve even known people who have written out documents of ownership for things they own and they list God as the owner.
- Read Scripture as a reminder of your true condition. Our society is so full of self help and positive motivation that we might start to believe we can do anything. Whatever we can do, it is through Christ who strengthens us. The Scriptures constantly remind us of our insufficiency and the all-sufficinecy of Christ.
What do you do to help you remember God in plenty?