Everybody would like to strike it rich. From the gold fevers of the mid-1800s to today’s sophisticated investors like arbitrageurs of Wall Street, from the tulip investors in Holland in 1637 to Carlo Ponzi in the 1920s to real estate speculators in 2006, people have dreamt and grasped and cheated and prayed for wealth.
Not Agur, son of Jakeh, author of the marvelous 30th chapter of Proverbs. In fact, he prayed to God to keep him not only from poverty (understandable) but also from becoming wealthy. Seriously! “I ask of you, 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).
Wise words. Agur realized that desperate people sometimes throw away their morals to survive. He feared that kind of desperation. But he was also insightful enough to know that money has a terribly corrupting power that is potentially just as destructive of your morals. In practical terms, he was inviting God to send some investment and business setbacks periodically so that he would not accumulate so much money that it would go to his head. He wanted both to love God and need God.
What is your personal financial level right now? Are you struggling and broke? risking idolatry with significant financial resources? Or like a spiritual Goldilocks, right in the Agur sweet spot?