I find this prayer in Proverbs 30 to be very inspiring. The author asks God to give him neither poverty nor riches, but just to give him what he needs. The reason for this prayer is two fold. The writer realizes that if he has too much, he might forget his need for God and follow after money instead. He also realizes that if he has too little, he might let the stress of the moment lead him to steal and bring shame on the name of the Lord whom he serves.
What a powerful prayer for us to have in our own lives. Far too many Christians are chasing the American dream of riches and wealth when they should be pursuing a deeper relationship with almighty God. But pursuing a deeper relationship with God does not mean we can be lazy and not work. For poverty does not automatically equal godliness, kindness, compassion or love. Though many poor people do have those qualities in abundance, it is not poverty itself that produces those qualities, it is a heart that seeks after God. This is why some poor people feel pressure to relieve their poverty in ways that are not right. it might be theft. It might be welfare fraud. It might be selling drugs, or worse, selling themselves sexually. These are all unhealthy ways to relieve poverty.
Think about it. Why would young men in difficult situations become drug dealers? Not because they love drugs, but because they saw no other way out of poverty. Why would a young lady become a prostitute? Trust me when I say that it was not a career choice that she wanted to make! Regretfully, when poverty is so deep that young people see no way out, they turn to these other things which leads them down a path of destruction. Though many poor people are wonderful people, let us not idolize poverty. It is a rough way to live.
Christians need not aspire to be rich, nor poor. We simply need to ask God to give us what we need to have a good life. And when we have extra, we can use it to help those who don't. That may be a different way of looking at things than we are used to, but is a perspective that could remove a lot of unneeded stress from our lives.
Lord, give us what we need to take care of our families and help those around us. Let us not yearn for more and become materialistic nor idolize poverty and be tempted to do wrong to survive. Amen.
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He has written a book about the spirit of offense that prevails in our current society. You can find all of his books at: