"The Golden Mean"
April 5, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
Godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
In 1728 John Gay wrote “The Beggar’s Opera” as a satire on moral conditions in the government and wealthy society of England. The theme is not far removed from Christ’s parable of the poor beggar, Lazarus, lying at the doorstep of the rich man, “who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day” (Luke 16:19).
Jesus had things to say to both rich and poor. He reminded the rich that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter God’s kingdom. As for the poor, He did not urge them to start a revolution, but He had a heart for them. Both poverty and riches involve temptations.
The writer of this passage in the book of Proverbs in the Bible realizes the perils of both poverty and wealth: “Two things I ask of You, O LORD … Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 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).
This believer wanted only his daily bread. His is a prayer for the golden mean, for a livelihood somewhere between poverty and riches. “Daily bread,” of course, is more than bread baked in an oven. It includes the gifts of God we need from day to day: apparel, a home, income to pay for heating bills, a job, health, the opportunity for education, and always a little extra to share with the poor.
Saint Paul writes: “Godliness with contentment is great gain. … If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Timothy 6:6, 8). And thankful for that!
All the while we are, above all, thankful for our spiritual riches in Jesus Christ, who became poor – poor to the point of death on a cross – to enrich us with forgiveness, peace with God, a purpose in life, and eternal life to come.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for giving me the necessities of life and for giving me my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)