Agurs prayer went like this:
“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”
That sounds normal and very similar to what we might pray. Then he continues with this,
“…give me neither poverty nor riches; but give me only my daily bread.”
What? No riches? Yes. When we pray to not be in poverty, or petition Him to provide well for our needs, how often do we do so with the unspoken hope that someday our ‘ship will come in’? That someday He will plop an unforeseen amount of treasure in our laps, so we ‘don’t have to worry’ about money being an issue when we want things?
Let’s get real here. The more we have, the more we want. The greater our paycheck, the greater our spending. What more money and riches really do is cushion us from the knowledge of what is a need and what is a want.
Agur goes on to pray in verse 9, referring to riches, “Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You saying “Who is the Lord?”” This is exactly the attitude we take on when we let money and riches become our first desire. We feel invincible and without need of the Lord’s protection and promises.
Excessive money breeds pride, greed and discontentment. But, lets keep in mind, its not the money itself that causes these traits. It’s the heart of the spender. While not all poor people measure their riches in needs provided, neither do all rich people measure their riches in dollars and cents.
There are very wealthy people who have overcome the strongholds money can bring. They give generously, live in small fix-‘er-up houses, wear clothes from second hand stores, don’t eat out, or have the latest techy gadgets. Why? Maybe because they don’t need it, but don’t you think that just maybe it’s because deep down they really don’t even want it? Because, just maybe, they know no satisfaction or lasting riches will come of it.
Lasting riches are found in helping others, giving to others, loving others, caring for others, cultivating relationships with others and most importantly, Jesus. Those are the riches we need. See how none of those are about ourself? That’s because the only thing consistent in lasting riches is others. Again, it’s all about the heart of the spender.
May we be good stewards of the income God has blessed us with, not squandering any of it on things this world offers, remembering Jesus’ words in Luke 12:14,
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Just say ‘no’ to wanting something for once. Not because you don’t have the money, but because you don’t need it. When you realize you don’t need more stuff, very likely you’ll realize you don’t want more stuff. Try it! The more you do it, the easier it becomes. It’s a very freeing experience.