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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wisconsin field (Photo by Doris High)
Rural view in Wisconsin
Photo by Doris High

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"The Prayer Of Agur"

"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).

I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I'd rather be His than have riches untold
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or land
I'd rather be led by His nail-pierced hands

"Never Enough" boatWe lived in New England in the nineties and were only 40 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean so it was not unusual to see  large boats in people's driveways or yards. Boat owners often name their boats and one that intrigued me was a boat parked in a driveway named, "Never Enough".  I don't know whether the owner's message was expressing, "There's never enough time to enjoy this boat" (since it seemed like it was always in the driveway when we passed by), or was the name expressing, "I want a bigger boat; this one is not big enough." The boat pictured to the left is not the same boat we saw in New England. Perhaps "Never Enough" is a common name for a boat since I could easily find this photo.

Of course, our lesson today isn't about how to buy and name a boat or even where you might park it. We've had no experience with that sort of thing, but we are familiar with the attitude, "Never Enough".  Even though most of the Proverbs were written by Solomon Proverbs 30 records the sayings of Agur son of Jakeh. What a timeless truth he expressed as he introduces this section with these words that reveal his prayerful heart, "Two things I ask of you, O LORD" (verse 7).

Pitfalls abound in the life of faith and one is the continuous tension between poverty and wealth. As I carefully and prayerfully consider today's verse I admit I have a hard time praying it myself, especially the part, "but give me only my daily bread." Now be honest, how many pray for only daily bread? Most of us would desire riches over poverty and certainly having more than just daily bread (I like the butter and honey as well). I want my pantry to be filled with a variety of food as well as the other stuff that we are accustomed to!

But the wisdom of the prayer is easily observable and is just as appropriate today as three thousand years ago:

Stake in ground
1) When things are going well and we're enjoying peace and prosperity we're prone to forgetting that this world is not our home. We get comfortable and begin to drive the stakes more deeply into our temporary tent along with its values and earthly perspective. Our heavenward view is obscured by our earthbound focus. Our eyes and thoughts begin to feast upon the pleasures of this life instead of the eternal Almighty God. Agur put it this way: "I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?'" 

2) On the other hand when things are tough and we face a season of need we may resort to the arm of flesh (stealing in its various forms) to get by rather than trusting in the Lord.  According to Agur we would, in this manner, "dishonor the name of my God."

Those of us who live in the prosperous regions of this world tend to view those who have more than us as the "rich". Our economic classes reflect this. We look up the scale and then reckon ourselves "poor" comparatively. Most reading this do not consider themselves as rich because we use the term "rich" for the very wealthy or at least those several notches up the scale from us. You may even be annoyed at me for pointing this out!

But comparatively most of us are very rich when we consider the perspective of the tremendous poverty in many, many parts of the world, especially third-world countries. I have visited some of these countries and seen people that truly know the meaning of "daily bread." Most of us certainly have far more than "daily bread" don't we?  We have fully stocked freezers and overflowing pantries. We are "rich in this present world" (1 Timothy 6:17) and do well to regularly heed the cautions that accompany prosperity. * (see note below)

Today let us count our blessings, share generously from our bounty, and praise God from whom all blessings flow.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Father, You are the Giver of all good things. You have given us so much and we are indeed grateful. Move upon our hearts to be generous with our resources. When we're tempted to look at other's possessions in comparison to our own, bring to our mind those who have less rather than those who have more. This will help us to be more prayerful and generous toward those who are without. It will also help us to be less whining and more content with what we have. Amen.

* The Apostle Paul's words in 1 Timothy 6:17-19 are very instructive in this regard: "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I'd Rather Have Jesus"  Video  Jason Crabb

"Count Your Blessings"  Video  Guy Penrod

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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