May 11, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Jay Park, Gracepoint Davis.

Psalm 62:10

Proverbs 11:28

Proverbs 23:4–5

Psalm 49

What is the reality of riches?

The riches are temporary, “for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Prov 23:5).  When we die, we cannot take our riches with us but will have to leave our wealth to others.  Yet, b/c the riches seem to give us sense of security, stability and power now, we go after it and even obsessively.  However, it still leaves us unfulfilled and never fully satisfied, b/c there is no limit to our greed—we want to gain even more.  It also leaves us insecure b/c we’re afraid of losing it.  We put extra security measures to protect our assets, using safety box, setting up guards around the asset, alarm system, etc.  Our minds cannot be at rest, lest what we have gets taken away.  Eventually, we become possessed by it.

What reality about life do riches cause people to be blind to or ignore?

Our momentary pleasures of luxury through our riches can really blind us to the fact that our lives are finite, and that one day we’ll have to face death. It’s often thinking about the end times that puts things into perspective, even our riches.   However, we’re preoccupied with enjoying the now by getting the next latest gadgets, traveling to places with fine dining, remodeling our homes yet again, etc., and it really serves us as an escapism from the reality.  I’ve seen some rich people becoming more greedy, selfish and isolated from others b/c all they care about is their own comfort and living it out for their own interest.  Their hearts as a result become much more shriveled up, disconnected from reality and people.  Also, the riches can blind us from seeing how spiritually needy we are.  We think that we can buy anything and everything to meet all our needs.  Then, why would we need God at all?  However, nothing the money can buy can solve our problem of guilt and shame from our sins.  So, people resort to distractions that money can buy since one solution to their sin problem is to not think about it, albeit only a temporary solution.

In what ways do people trust in riches?  What does this trust lead to?

People buy into the lie that the money is what will solve all their problems and will bring happiness.  I hear it all the time from people that I talk to, that their goal in life is to become filthy rich.  They put so much trust in the riches. However, they are signing up for some big time disappointment b/c many who pursued riches have ended up feeling depressed and very unhappy, b/c it doesn’t quite satisfy what their heart longs for.  God has made us to worship Him and to run on Him, not on money.  If God created a God-shaped void in our hearts that only God can fill, then it makes sense that nothing else can properly fill that void, and it will leave us unfulfilled.

What ultimate reality gave the psalmist in Psalm 49 his confidence?

The psalmist’s ultimate reality is that “God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.” He was able to see that while he can take his riches only up to his grave, only God can take him beyond the grave. He knew what is temporary vs what is eternal, and he chose to put his trust in what is eternal, which is God himself.

What lessons do I need to heed from these passages?

It’s tempting for me to focus on what is immediate, what can bring me comfort and pleasure now and thus pursue material success and gain. Sometimes, although fleeting, I would wonder what it’s like to earn 6-figure salary.  However, one thing I’m very thankful about is that I came to lose grip on money towards the end of my college life through the help of my spiritual leader.  When I was a freshman, I was very stingy with money, to the point that I was hesitant to lend out money to my dorm friend who just got his wallet stolen, when he asked to borrow $20 from me w/ a promise of paying it back.  Money came out of my wallet crying as I reluctantly handed over that mere $20.  As a way to become generous and lose grip on money, what my leader had suggested was that I put $20 on the table after my friends and I eat together at a restaurant and don’t expect a change back.  It was a way for me to exercise generosity. Sometimes, the change came back, sometimes it didn’t, and I learned to be content either way.  After some practice of that, I became more free with money and free about spending it on people.  Even now, after many years later, I am able to see money with the perspective that I am God’s steward who manages His money, and that it should be used to bring people closer to Him.  This has helped me to be at ease even when my money is running low on my checking account or I fall into debt.  The greater reality that God has showed me was that my life is not about what I can gain for myself but what I can give to others to make Christ known to them.   Of course, there still is that temptation to hoard or use my resources for myself so that I can be comfortable. However, as the psalmist had confidence in God who can deliver him beyond the grave, I need to likewise keep investing in what is eternal more and more, rather than clutching onto my own selfish desires, by giving away what I have received so that I may be a blessing to others.

 

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