Words of Worth

Extreme Makeover

October 29, 2010

Options abound in life. Movie theaters, gas stations, church services…gone are the days where only one movie is playing in town, one type of gas is available at the pump, and one service is offered at church. Now we have several options available to us—we can choose one of twenty-four movies to see, one of three types of gas to buy, and one of several church services to attend on Sunday. On and on the examples could go and while options may be good, they can sometimes be overwhelming. Too many options may result in choosing one of two extremes–not making the right or most needful choice or becoming greedy and wanting to “try out” all of the options.

Extremes abound in life as well. Extreme beauty makeovers, extreme home makeovers, extreme sports competition… gone are the days of the middle ground moderate makeover, average home refurbishing, and friendly competition in sports. On and on the examples could go, and while there may be a situation in which extremes may offer helpful options, they too can be overwhelming. Too many extremes may result in being greedy and in an “I want it all” attitude.

However, the writer in Proverbs 30: 7-9 displays great wisdom when he asked God not for many options or many extremes, but simply for two things.

“Two things I asked of You,
Do not refuse me before I die:
Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
That I may not be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’”

He asked for grace sufficient for his soul and food convenient for his body. He asked for vanity and lies to be removed from him and secondly he asked God to “feed me with the bread of my allowance, such bread as thou thinks fit to allow me.” Give me enough to satisfy my hunger and nothing more. When he prayed, “give me neither poverty nor riches”, he prayed against the extremes of abundance and want. He expressed the value, which wise and good men have for the moderate and middle road. This clearly goes against the pressure of the world to obtain the biggest and brightest of everything.

The noble reason for his request is clearly revealed in v. 9 “lest I be rich and sin, or poor and sin.”(KJV) In the extremes, the temptation to sin is apparent. Prosperity makes people proud and forgetful of God, as if they had no need of him. Poverty, on the other hand, may lead to the strong temptation of dishonest behavior such as stealing. The wise man fears extreme options because he could dishonor God by living independently of Him or dishonestly before Him.

Our Savior reinforces this thought when He teaches us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6: 9-15) and when He reminds us “My grace is sufficient for you…” (2 Corinthians 12: 9). There is no need to stockpile our daily needs, or live this life in excess, because He provides the needed strength and ability to live a life marked not by extreme measures but by extreme devotion. (SV)

Looking for more words? Read 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 and Ephesians 3:14-21

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