August 10, 2009
Day 2 – Robbing Ourselves
Scripture: Proverbs 1: 8-19 (NLT)
8My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 9What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.
10 My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! 11They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent! 12 Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death.
13Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take. 14Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.”
15My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths. 16 They rush to commit evil deeds. They hurry to commit murder. 17 If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away. 18But these people set an ambush for themselves; they are trying to get themselves killed. 19Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life.
What is the writer saying?
At every age it is good that we consider the correction and instruction we have received from our parents. Even in adulthood we are to continue learning from them. If we adopt this attitude, our life will be marked by grace and honor.
But there are other voices seeking our attention. They are the ungodly, saying, “Come and join us as we destroy someone. For our own amusement, let’s lay a trap for someone innocent. And let’s destroy them completely. Let’s see what we can get from them. Let’s treat them unfairly and take all we can from them to add to what we already have. Let’s see how much we can take and how much stuff we can fill our lives with. There is plenty to go around”.
We must not throw in our lot with the ungodly in this. We must avoid this kind of thinking and this kind of life like the plague. Consider the birds of God’s creation. Even they can see when a trap has been set to capture and destroy them. But these people and all who join with them, set a trap for themselves, a trap that will ultimately destroy them from within. This is what happens when we get greedy for money. We end up robbing ourselves of the good life God wants us to enjoy. And we cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
How does this apply to me?
When I was a child, my parents were quite poor. But there was a value my mom and dad instilled in me that continues to direct my life: “Treat people fairly”. Even though my dad has been gone for nearly 20 years, fairness remains a core value for me. But I need to be continually reminded that happiness and joy in life does not come from gathering wealth or having a new car or truck. Joy and happiness is not the result of having new furniture, nice clothes, playing golf or having the latest in technology. And getting ahead at the expense of someone else brings misery to my soul rather than enhancement to my life. I need to remember all this and allow the words of my parents to continue to direct my life.
But I am reminded of something else today. I must continue to instill these values in my now grown-up children. And I still have a responsibility to live this value of fairness in front of our granddaughter, so that she might do the same with her children and her children’s children.
My prayer today:
Oh God, Jehovah Jireh, my provider and my life, I struggle sometimes with my desire for things. I know you tell me that what matters most is godliness and contentment with what I have. But sometimes I become selfish in my thinking and want for those things that can never make me happy. And if I am not careful, I can begin to compromise my values to get what I want. God keep me from this, I pray. Give me the grace and strength to live a contented life before our children and our grandchild.
Let my life be one that is guided by fairness and honesty toward others. You are my God, Provider, and Giver of Life. Live you life through me today, I pray. May the attitude of my heart, the words of my lips, and the activities of my day bring honor and glory to you alone!