Have

Mama, Children, Dance, Fun, Family, Baby
Pixabay

They say there are the haves

And yet others that have yachts

Then there are the most of us

That are the have nots

But if that is the way we measure our net wealth

Aren’t we devaluing things like love and our good health?

Look at your children as they go about their play

Do they know you love them at the end of the day?

It isn’t about the computer screens,

Or the toys with which they play

It is hearing your encouragement,

And feeling the security within the home where they stay

It need not be a mansion, or stately manor vast

It just needs to be a loving home,

In which that love does last


Padre

Seek First The Kingdom

Gold, Ingots, Golden, Treasure, Bullion

Pixabay

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle. (Prov 23: 4-5)

While it used to be a common saying, that someone was trying to “keep up with the Jones,” we have as a society moved beyond that.  Now we want to be the Jones.  Or better still the Kardashians.  Even our public leaders at the highest levels speak of their accomplishments, and focus on their poll numbers.

Wealth and fame have become ends in themselves, and having enough just isn’t enough.  The problem with such an approach is that it is self perpetuating.  The insatiable desire for more leaves us discontented.

The Proverb warns about this lust for material gain and fame.  It cautions against trusting in our own cunning, and implies God’s disapproval of claiming that His gifts of talent are our own accomplishment.

If the Covid crisis has shown nothing else, it shows how illusory worldly security is.  A microscopic organism can bring down economies, much less individual savings, or even whole portfolios.

Let’s then seek joy and contentment in the things that are more enduring.  Let us be thankful for our families, friends, and communities.  Let us be grateful for food in our bellies, roofs over our heads, and fresh air and clean water.  But let us also acknowledge the One who has bestowed these upon us.  And once we recognise these as gifts, let us share them with those who lack them.  Riches may well “sprout wings” and fly away.  But let us not hold them captive like a caged bird whose incarceration leads to death.  Rather, let them fly free to thrive and bless others.

All that glitters is not gold

There are things more valuable we are told

Virtue and honour,

Good deeds and kindnesses to unfold

Are the real riches manifold

To be apace with Kim and Caitlyn do not seek

Especially if in doing so you trod on the weak

But follow a path loving, seeking just enough

Remember God when followed,

Will provide the other stuff (Matt 6:33)

 

Padre

 

 

The Greener Grass

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I was reflecting on Psalm 73 and the psalmist’s reflection of his own weakness.

“But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold (verse 2).”

What then was the cause of this near slip? Put simply, misguided desire and misguided envy. His gaze moved from God to the ways of the world,

“For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (verse 4).”

It seemed to the writer that the ungodly had it made,

“They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills (verse 5).”

Who wouldn’t want such a life? Wow, no struggles, no illness, a life of ease.

It is interesting that in the Nazis’ rise to power there was one recurrent theme.  Prosperity!  Prosperity! and Prosperity!  Hitler promised jobs, living space, and yet again prosperity.  This may have been a big lie, but it was a big lie told simply, and repeated until it sank in. Much as no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills does.  But at what cost?  The Psalmist next catches a glimpse of this,

“Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity their evil imaginations have no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?” This is what the wicked are like— always free of care, they go on amassing wealth (verses 6-12).”

Solomon had written that “there is nothing new under the sun,” and this violent, selfish, boastfulness is evident throughout the ages.  The illusion of worldly wealth, and not just keeping up with the Jones, but being the Jones is sought after by many.  The psalmist saw it in Psalm 73, historians and political scientists such as Andreas Clemens see it in Hitler’s promises, and even much of the “new right” takes the view today.

“We shall prosper!” Yet to do so sometimes relies on violence (actual or threatened), it has a callousness to the plight of others.  The abundance for one is at the expense of another. Scapegoats are exploited, and the “have littles” are relegated to being “have nots,” so others can be “have mores.”

But the psalmist does not leave us here with his own “slipping” towards the lie.  He rather returns to the truth.  Evil may appear to prosper, but it will in the end have its comeuppance! Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful  to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds (verses 27-28).”

Where is your refuge today.  In the “greener grass” of someone else’s field, the prosperity of this age, or in the Lord?

Padre