“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 or riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I many 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 a world where it seems that everybody is constantly seeking more; more money, more recognition, more time; and at times will stop at nothing to “have it all,” maybe we could learn a little something from Agur here in Proverbs.
These two favors that he asks of the Lord really sum up a simple life of obedience. His desire to always be honest and to be known for such, is honorable. How often do we catch ourselves telling little lies and later thinking, “I shouldn’t have done that.” It could be someone asks you to be involved in something that is really of no interest to you but instead of just telling them that, you come up with some elaborate excuse for why you can’t…lie. Maybe your kid wants you to chaperone a field trip but you really can’t stand this other parent that you know will go so you tell little Susie that Mommy already has plans that day….lie. Or is it a request from your spouse to spend a romantic evening alone when you’d rather sit glued to your computer playing one of your fave games, “Sorry honey, I’m not feeling so hot.”…lie.
You get my drift. It is just as easy to lie as it is to tell the truth but the truth doesn’t make you feel like a heaping pile of junk when you reflect on it later.
His second request is spot on. This man has discovered a truth that escapes so many of us-a life of simple abundance is enough. I’m not saying that riches destroy everyone, some people have learned how to use their success for the good of many rather than being so consumed with their wealth that they lose touch with humanity. There are those who have become so confident in their own abilities because of their prosperity that they feel no need for God and therefor deny his existence, after all, they are self-made, no God’s work here. Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum, where the lack is so severe that the one struggling starts to believe there can’t be a God, because if He did exist, how could he allow this to happen?
One of my favorite verses of Scripture in regards to giving is Peter 3:6 “Silver and Gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee.” The richest people in the world are those who have learned that money has little to do with true success or happiness. Wealth comes from knowledge of the Lord and trust in His provision for you and yours. Maybe you don’t live with excess and you go week-by-week like we do, that’s fine with me because I know that God knows just what I need and He will never leave the righteous out begging for bread.