Reflections: Is having the most toys important?
How often do we pray for “just enough?” Just enough money, food, cars or success? Aren’t our prayers or at least the thoughts behind our prayers, focused on having a lot of money, food, cars, and success?
A prayer with a different focus can be found in the Old Testament. The story begins with a man named Solomon who had just become king. He began his reign by worshiping God. Later that evening, God said to Solomon, “Ask what I shall give to you.” Solomon replies, “You have shown great loving kindness and mercy to my father David, and have made me king in his place… Give me wisdom and knowledge, so that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule and administer justice to this great people of yours?” God replied to Solomon, “Because this was in your heart and you did not ask for riches, possessions or honor and personal glory, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself so that you may rule and administer justice to My people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge have been granted you” (2 Chronicles 1:8-13).
Solomon went on to rule wisely and among other writings, authored the book of Proverbs which is filled with wise sayings that can be of benefit even today. In one of the Proverbs he wrote later in his life, we read another request. “Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread”. Then Solomon proceeded to give the reason he was asking for a “middle class” kind of life. “Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:7-9). Here again, Solomon displays his desire that nothing interfere with a life focused on God.
Solomon feared that if he had too much he might forget God. That idea is portrayed in a parable Jesus told about a rich farmer who had such an extraordinary crop that he did not have enough room to store the grain. Instead of humbly thanking God he dishonored God by boasting and bragging about all he had and that he was now set for life. God proceeded to call him a fool. Thus the farmer died that night. His great wealth could not save him (Luke 12).
Malcolm Forbes is attributed with saying, “Whoever dies with the most toys, wins.” I prefer this restatement. “Whoever dies with the most toys still dies.” Shouldn’t we be more like Solomon and ask that we have just enough so that we are not so poor that we are tempted to steal or become prideful and forget God? “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Andrea Johnson at 857-1945 or firstname.lastname@example.org