Last Sunday night at our evening worship service, the sermon from Proverbs ended with a passage that has really stuck with me. The reason it stood out is because it’s one of those verses that is so counter-cultural it borders of blasphemous (against society, not God). It’s something you would never hear on a TV show or during commercials. It won’t be on billboards. It’s so outrageous that it’s best left well within the recesses of that dusty old Bible on the shelf next to Chicken Soup for the Soul. In fact it’s so radical that I dare say if all of God’s people would put this verse into action, the entire US economy would be flipped on its head.
Give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8-9)
Utter madness. Hogwash. Apparently Agur son of Jakeh has forgotten that America was founded on Christian principles, chief among which is capitalism. If everyone were simply content with their “daily bread,” then there would be no need for credit cards, department stores, or layaway. This is a Christian nation, Mr. Agur. Don’t you go spreading your “contentment” filth all over the place. Especially this time of year. We are even celebrating Thankfulness and the Life/Birth of Christ in the only good and proper way- buying more stuff.
Certainly Jesus himself would have something to say about that. Jesus wants us to be happy, and I won’t be happy unless I get more stuff, duh! I bet Jesus never bought into this “daily bread” mumbo jumbo.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. (Matthew 6:9-11)
Yeah but….those are only two passages. You can’t form a whole argument around two verses!
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. (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
Well, okay. But…
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)
Alright, four verses, big deal.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)
What, are you anit-American or something?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Why do you hate your country?
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:14-16)
Now you’re just showing off.
You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
I don’t even know…
However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today… If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need… There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:4-5, 7-8, 11)
I guess God just doesn’t understand the way economy works. There has to be a growing gap between the rich and the poor. If the rich don’t get richer, who’s going to provide for the poor? If we just share everything and give stuff away then we aren’t being good stewards of our money. If the poor and the rich are treated as equals, then there wouldn’t be any incentive to get rich in the first place!
God’s economy is just not practical. It would never work in the real world. Now excuse me, I have to look through the ads for all the Thanksgiving Thursday sales. That’s the American thing to do. Now be a good citizen and forget all this gratitude, contentment, and relying-on-God nonsense. There are some great sales on big TVs…