OK, let’s be honest for a moment. We honestly believe that if we could win the lottery or if Publisher’s Clearinghouse showed up at our door our problems would be solved. We may not voice it this way, but if we prayed what was really in our heart our prayer might go, “God, I am having trouble making ends meet, if you could just make me richer, then I could serve you, I would give, and I would care for those less fortunate.” I know people who have become bitter and enraged with God because He did not serve their idolatry and give them all they wanted. Too often we feel entitled believing that God ought to give us better.
A man named Agur (fun name) wrote a prayer contained in the book of Proverbs that has deeply challenged me. In Proverbs 30:7-9 he says:
Two things I ask of you: deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying, give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me.
Lest I be full and deny you, and say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.
Do you hear this. From his desire to honor God and live for His glory, Agur makes two life request. The first makes sense, help me have integrity, keep me from being someone characterized by falsehood and dishonesty. But the second requests is the one that is shocking. He asks God to give him neither poverty or riches, but only enough food for the day. And look at his reasoning. He knows himself, he is spiritually self-aware. If God blesses him financially the result will be his denial of God. He will begin to see his efforts and work as the source of his success, and will no longer have a desperation for God and His provision. On the other hand, if he is left in poverty he knows that the temptation will be to resort to stealing rather than trusting God for daily provision.
So back to being honest (that’s the first half of the prayer, right). We come to passages like this and find ourselves skimming over them. This is not our real desire, we do want God to give us riches. We do want God to pay our bills, and give us that awesome new 4-wheel drive truck with the mag wheels, and the three car garage to contain it… But as I grow in understanding myself as a steward, I will have a growing sense of contentment, a heart of gratitude, and a desire to honor God with whatever he provides. So let me encourage you, memorize this prayer, and make it your own.