Friday, March 8, 2013

Proverbs 13:8 What have I got to lose?

A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat. (Proverbs 13:8)

“Do you own your things or do they own you?” This is what comes to mind when I read Proverbs 13:8. This verse tells us that a wealthy person can ransom his way out of trouble with his money, but it’s the money that actually puts his life at risk to begin with. People looking for a gain of ransom are going after the wealthy - not the poor. So the very thing which could save him is what endangers the rich man!

When we have much we really do live at greater risk of loss. As the house begins to fill with things, we begin to worry more about protecting those things. We begin to hold on tighter. We worry about how to invest the money so that we can keep it. Maybe we move into a gated community to feel better protected. The very wealthy practically live in fortresses - gated compounds with electrified, video-monitored fencing. They hire bodyguards or security firms to protect them.

The poor don’t have that burden! In general no one is looking to gain anything from the poor. A thief isn’t going to bother his neighbor who has nothing. If you have ever been to a third-world country, you know that the people of those countries, whose standard of living is so very much lower than our own in America, seem to find joy in very simple things. This is not to glamorize poverty. There is nothing noble or romantic about being poor. Poverty is oppressive and can turn just as many to sin as excessive wealth. But Solomon is saying here that those who desire to be rich in material things are deceived if they think these will secure their happiness.

What are the things (not people) which you value so much that you would be devastated over losing them? A few months ago I was lying awake at 3:30 a.m., trying to go to back to sleep, when my mind went to thoughts of what would happen if we had a fire. What would I try to grab on my way out the door? Don and I used to actually have a list we kept in our top filing cabinet of things to grab. We made the list when I was pregnant with Molly, so at the top of the list to grab was “the baby!” :)

But as I was wrestling with this at 3:30, I realized that, at this point, since there are no babies to grab, there probably isn’t anything in our home that would be irreplaceable. Even many photos could be gathered from various sources. Everything else is just stuff! Yet the care of maintenance of this “stuff” consumes a lot of our time! And none of it can secure our future! Even the annuity we have for retirement is only as good as the company holding it!

I’m glad my trust is in my God, who holds all things securely in His hands. I know that if I were being threatened, He would grab me! And He wouldn't even need a list to remind Him!  

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