Proverbs 30:7-9 “Two things I ask of you, 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.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown<sup class="crossreference" value="(L)”> you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
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    An abundant life is a life where needs are met on a daily basis.  It’s a wise man who knows that too much and too little are two sides of the same coin.  As the world determines wealth, lots of money for some requires poverty for many more others.   Only God can provide the good things we need; “Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator . . . ” (James 1:17)  Jesus came to provide for our daily needs; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,<sup class="crossreference" value="(A)”> and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

     ‘Falsehood and lies’ arise out of too much as well as too little.  How easy it is for us when everything is going well and we have lots of money in the bank to congratulate ourselves on our success.  We forget the help we have had from family and friends.  We ignore the blessings we have received from working in good jobs with benefit plans as well as good wages.  We take for granted good health and the physical abilities health entails.  We begin to think we did it all by ourselves and strut about in selfish pride.   Our sense of community dwindles as the ‘me first’ attitude grows. Too much makes us forget our neighbours  who may be in need.    Too much makes us false towards God as we indulge the lie of our sufficient selves.

     Poverty  cripples and twists the mind with anxiety and fear.  Poverty cripples and twists the body with malnutrition and disease.  A lack of basic necessities can drive people to abandon God’s laws and social relationships of the most basic kind can break down.  Many horrors are perpetrated on a stage set by poverty;   “Poverty can lead to high levels of stress that in turn may lead individuals to commit theft, robbery, or other violent acts.” (Poverty and Crime)  Too little makes people ignore God as they bitterly fight to take what they perceive is denied by others.

     Can too much coincide with too little within the same individual?  We know it can within the same community, city, nation and planet because we read our newspapers and listen to the news.  Some people have too much, others too little.   Is it possible that too much and too little can work within the same person.  If such conditions beset enough people can social behaviours and dynamics be affected?  Can we see evidence of this kind of condition in our communities?   In nutrition, we see people who get sick of too much sugar and  too little vitamins.

      Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian  points out: “People often complain of an emptiness which no material possessions can fill. In the midst of plenty, they are spiritually hungry, unhappy, and in despair – the modern symptoms of discontent. Consider – and it is just one small example – the anorexics, fashion models, actors, and ballet dancers who feel obliged to change their weight to comply with standards which take no account of their inner struggles or their health.”  In the midst of plenty many in North America starve for fulfilling meaning in their lives.

     Spiritual poverty can drive people to steal even if they have more material goods than most people on this planet.   How many tragic events in the news are created by spiritually impoverished souls gone completely insane because they have no centre, no meaning and no hope.   Our innocence is stolen; children are gunned down in the violence of madness.  The vacuum of an empty spirit creates a maelstrom of pain, anger and chaos;  “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;  Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/ The ceremony of innocence is drowned” (Yeats)

      Jesus tells us that our spiritual side must be nourished for us to live; “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)  The writer of the proverb knew this well. His wisdom was to ask for enough to cover his needs. Too much on the material side is bad, we forget God and ignore His glory. Too little is also bad, we blame God and steal His glory.   Our spirits need to be nourished on His Word so that we can contend with the vicissitudes of this life.

     Jesus taught us to pray; “Our Father<sup class="crossreference" value="(I)”> in heaven,  hallowed be your name,  your kingdom<sup class="crossreference" value="(J)”> come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts,  as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

     Let that be our prayer today and every day!

     Praise the Lord!