Lauantai 22.9.2018
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Tomuun vaipuneet, herätkää ja riemuitkaa! Sinun kimaltava aamukasteesi virvoittaa maan, ja niin maa palauttaa kuolleet elämään. Jes. 26:19

Neither poverty nor riches

Usko ja elämä - Artikkelit 26.12.2016 06:25 | Päivämies-verkkolehti
We are living in an era of dramatic change and uncertainty. There are public discussions of values and fundamental issues of faith as well as employment, workplaces, and subsistence. It is important to pray that God’s word would guide our choice of lifestyle and values.
We often hear news of how the rich grow increasingly rich, while the poor sink ever deeper in poverty. This sounds hard, but it is true. Many of the people we know may struggle to make their living. There is a need for abundant neighborly love both near and far. Even a small sacrifice may make a big difference for someone in dire need of help. We cannot control the distribution of big money or food in the international or even the national context, but we can strive to make choices guided by God’s word among our family and neighbors.

One characteristic of our time is discontentment and complaint. “We have all things we need for a good life, but we still do not have enough.” This feeling is also close to believers. What else should we obtain and possess in order to live a happy life? It is tempting but dangerous to compare or estimate whether God has blessed more temporal wealth to our neighbors or friends.

The food that is needful

We often think and even worry about our livelihood and daily bread. In his explanation of the Lord’s Prayer, Martin Luther asks: ”What does daily bread mean?” And he then explains: ”Everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful magistrates, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.” This explanation of daily bread written in Luther’s archaic language covers everything that we need.

A traveler in the Old Testament times prayed to God: ”Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches;  feed me with the food that is needful for me.” (Prov. 30:8.) Apostle Paul wrote: ”But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (1Tim. 6:8). God has promised to bless all honest and respectable work. 

We can trust that God will give us our daily bread and open for us opportunities to earn our living. When the Old Testament traveler prayed for ”the food that is needful”, he did not mean either excessive prosperity or downright poverty. Excessive wealth and success are not even good for everybody. “Otherwise, I might have too much and deny you, saying, “Who is the LORD?” or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.” (Prov. 30:9.)

The most precious thing in our life

In a believing home we may experience moments of joy and happiness even at times of temporal shortage, because our most precious treasure is faith. If temporal and eternal matters are in harmony in our home, there prevails an inexplicable atmosphere of quiet happiness, which can be perceived even by a visitor. We can trust that both small and great matters in our life are in God’s care.

At Jesus’ time, too, many people worried about their livelihood and future. Jesus spoke to them about God’s care: ”Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. -- Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? --   But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:26,31,33.)

Jesus taught about the correct order of importance. Participation in God’s kingdom, personal faith, and the happy message of the gospel give us the strength to persevere through temporal difficulties. ”Getting to know God and our Savior Jesus Christ and becoming a child of God are the most important matter in our life.” (Christian Doctrine 1).

Jorma Hoppa

Translation: S.-L. L.


Proverbs 30:8

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