The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord‘s,
and on them he has set the world.
1 Samuel 2:7-8
Having nice things isn’t bad. In fact, having some of the finer things can be helpful. We all need stuff like clothes and furniture and ovens and cars. But when people get caught up in a chase for more stuff, that’s when they start to get in trouble. After all, how much is enough? How much is too much?
The Greek myth of King Midas is a good example. The king had everything he could ever hope for, and was by far the richest man in the kingdom. He had a beautiful palace, a gorgeous daughter and enough gold to buy anything he wanted or needed. But it wasn’t enough.
One day, when he was counting his gold (which he did several times a day), he wished that he could turn everything he touched to gold. His wish was granted, and at first, the king was thrilled. He ran around touching everything in sight, and everything became gold. It was fun at first, but then he got hungry, and when he sat down to eat, every piece of food he touched turned to gold. When he was thirsty, the water in the cup became gold before he could take a drink. When he laid down to sleep, his sheets became hard, cold gold. His daughter saw how miserable he had become, and she made the mistake of comforting him by giving him a hug – and then she turned to gold!
King Midas’ desire for more and more cost him everything. He had all of the gold he could desire, but it brought him no joy or comfort, because he ended up hungry, thirsty, cold and alone. Sadly, that’s what happens to a lot of people who chase after things instead of chasing after God. People who just want more stuff never get enough, and even when they’re incredibly rich, they just want more. Their things don’t bring them any of the comfort that comes from the love of God.
I’ve known many rich people. Some of them know how blessed they are, and they give God all of the credit for their wealth. They give a lot of their money and time to help others who are less fortunate, and they’re very generous with God. Others have given God little or no credit, and they’ve spent most of their time and money simply trying to make more money. Which ones do you think have been happier in life? (If you’re wondering what the answer is, it’s definitely the ones who have honored God.)
Today, think of the possessions you have. Take a few moments and write down the ones that are the most important to you, and make some notes about whether they’re needs or wants. (The list will probably surprise you a bit – it’s really OK to have wants on that list, but the main point is to be aware of just how much you’re blessed to have.) Make a point of thanking God for the blessings he’s given you, and ask Him to help you be content with what you have, and to be grateful for whatever He chooses to bless you with in the future.
Reflection copyright © 2015 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.