Friday, November 18, 2016

If I Were a Rich ... Person (James 1:9-11)

Today’s scripture: James 1:9-11

I love musicals, especially the old classics like “Fiddler on the Roof.” It’s a wonderful musical with a great story. The main character, Tevye, is a poor milk man, and at one point, he asks God why He couldn’t have given him riches (singing the iconic “If I were a rich man …”). Tevye thinks that having money, being rich, would take care of all his problems.

And the same is true for many of us today. If I were rich, I’d have a perfect life, we think.

So we work too hard, trying to earn just one more dollar or get just one more promotion. We fudge on our taxes. We gamble.

We seem to forget one thing: Riches do not necessarily equal happiness. Think of the rich and famous who have spiraled out of control due to drug or alcohol use. Think of the lottery winners who are bankrupt in just months. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes that wealth is futile: “behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun” (2:11).

Instead of focusing on wealth, perhaps we would be wise to focus on contentment, on being satisfied with whatever God gives us. Or as the apostle Paul wrote:

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Phil. 4:11-12) 

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