My Favorite Proverbs, Thursday: Seeking true success (Prov. 13:7).
“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing;
And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”
Don’t put much thought into it, but mentally jot down your definition of “rich.”
There’s a well-known and powerful politician in the news being interviewed as she opens her refrigerator in her mansion’s kitchen to show a large supply of her favorite ice creams. Later it was noted that the two refrigerators behind her were commercial models and cost $2,400 each. Because of who she is, her refrigerators were noteworthy and made the news. Is she rich?
Most Decembers the Colleys will watch Ebenezer Scrooge complain to his nephew about requests to help the poor. In the story he had vastly more money than anyone around him. Was he rich? To quote the poet, he was “knee deep in a river of blessing, dying of thirst.”
In our congregation in Huntsville, Alabama we have many young families with children. Blessed with jobs and homes and food to eat, they sit in the evenings before bed and teach their children the things of God from Scripture. Are these people rich?
We also have widows who spend a portion of each day thinking of days long gone—days used in the living of youth with their husbands and children, making a life and loving one another and loving God. Those children call and come see them today and often bring their own children to see their widowed grandmothers. Are they rich?
We have individual Christians who have no (or almost no) family to call their own except for their church family, the family of God. Are these people rich?
Jesus has blessed us abundantly in many ways, and here’s a great example: He taught us, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk. 12:15). Read it over and over, ingest it and believe it. Defining rich in terms of money is a fools game. It isn’t a sin to have wealth but riches cannot be seen as synonymous with happiness as we make our way through life. That philosophy will eventually crush us, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:10). True riches are found in friends and family and especially in the security of our salvation. Happiness is belonging and being anchored in the church for which Jesus died. Being in that group of believers means you’re loved and have a place to extend love.
Now, are you rich? If you’re in Christ, no matter what else is true, you truly are rich, and before you is an eternity in the greatest place you’ve never seen (2 Cor. 4:17-18ff). Today, Christian, be happy. Give yourself permission to acknowledge your true riches and thank God for them. And if you’d like to learn more about becoming a Christian, I’ll be happy to show you how.
Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy
- Review the three characteristics of God (the super-powers that we introduced during Bible Time a couple of nights ago–omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence). Then quickly review the events of 2 Samuel 11.
- Then, by way of review, have two children (or one child and one parent) act out the scene when Nathan visited David. Have the very conversation that the two men had. Coach your David to become irate upon hearing about the man who took the lamb. Have Nathan say “Thou art the man,” and David respond with “I have sinned before God.” Have Nathan pronounce that God is going to let David live, but that the baby will die. Have your David be very sad and cry at that news as the “curtain falls”.
- Take a little bit of time tonight thinking about the phrase “I have sinned.” Remind your kids that it’s really hard sometimes to say those three words, even as adults. Remind them how easy it is to make excuses and pretend that we are not doing wrong, when we really are. Remind them that even Adam, in the garden of Eden ate the fruit and then made excuses when God came to Him. “The woman that you gave me…she gave it to me”(Genesis 3:12). Remind them that Aaron did not say “I have sinned.” When the golden calf was discovered by Moses, Aaron said, “I just threw the jewelry in the fire and out came this calf” (Exodus 32:24). Tell your children when people do wrong it is very important to just say “I have sinned, and I am sorry and I am going to obey God.”
- Tell your children that Nathan left David’s house and David went in and found that the child was very ill. David slept on the ground all night and pleaded with God that the child would not die. Tell your kids…”You know, that’s what I would do if you were very sick. I would pray and pray and pray that God would make you better. I would plead with God.” Ask your children “Does God hear his children when we plead?” Then add “But does God always give us everything we want?” Do your best to make sure your children know that, while we may not get what we want, we DO, as His children, always get what is best. Our Father knows what is best. David’s baby is going to die, just as God has said. We’ll talk about that tomorrow night.
- Pray with your children.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.