“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” The pursuit of money is the passion of many. Where does it all lead? Can it satisfy? How many people pursue wealth above all, and yet find that riches seem to be far from their grasp?
If we want to have economic security, some strategies for pursuing that goal are better than others. If being comfortable is our highest most prominent goal, it may lead to choices that are against the Word of the Lord. God is in charge of everything. Won’t we all do better by seeking the Giver of every good gift as our highest desire?
What should we do when fear, greed, and covetousness arouse our interest more than the Lord? Repent. Tell Him about it. Ask for forgiveness, and let our minds be renewed by the Word and Spirit of God.
“The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” If we seek a prudent mind, a humble spirit, a generous heart, and the integrity of a good name, we will discover a better way to live than will come from thinking that we exist to make money. God’s people will serve Him better by paying attention to matters of character than in giving our hearts over to covetousness.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Clarity of spirit is not only important for adults, but also to any children or grandchildren we may have. The young ones will see the patterns of the grown-ups around them. Our descendants are being instructed by our passions. The Lord’s covenant people need to be examples of humility and character, trusting the Lord to hold those who are in our charge in that good training throughout their lives. A worthy parental example will be very hard to run away from in the end.
What does the “sluggard” say? “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!” Children may try to live a life of laziness and immorality in a world that has very different values than they were once taught. Will they really settle for the food that pigs eat after seeing the peace and fruitfulness of the Lord’s ways in the homes of their younger days? Like the wayward son in Luke 15, eventually they will think about the place they came from and about the father they have left behind. We need to wait in faith for their eventual return from a far country. We should put our confidence in the Lord and pray for the wayward souls that we love so dearly.
Have we disciplined our children in the ways of character? Was lying and stealing applauded in our homes, or did it win the young ones some form of correction? Was it “survival of the fittest” in the playroom, or did not the strong have to share with the weak? Was laziness rewarded in our houses? Didn’t our children have to learn how to work hard in school and at home? Did we show them in word and action that God was more important than anything else?
We can certainly find fault with our parenting and with our submissiveness as children. Even our wisest and most righteous acts cannot be compared with the perfect righteousness of the Son of God. He saw the way of His Father and He loved it and followed it. Did it lead Him to great wealth? In a way it did. The Son of God did His work very well, and now He is our eternal King with authority over everything in heaven and on earth. Yet the pathway to glory for Jesus was through suffering. His cross brought the generosity of divine forgiveness to us.
Have we failed as parents and children? Yes, but Jesus forgives us and has a better way of life for us now, even when it seems too late for a new beginning.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father, how do we continue to make poor choices when the way of life is so clear? Help us to remember again the lessons that we learned in our youth. For what good reason have we abandoned the counsel of the godly? There is no hope for us in adultery and indolence. We will only be the joke of those who scoff at those who fall. Train us up again in righteousness from Your holy Word, for the way of Your Word is perfect. The way of our own foolishness will not be better for us and for others than the life of truth and grace in Jesus Christ. Grant us fresh resources from Your abundant wisdom.