Neither Poverty Nor Riches

Reading the Word

Proverbs 30:7–9 (ESV)
7 Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die:
8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9 lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The author calls out to God for two things: that he would not be a liar and that God would not give him poverty or riches. The first is obvious enough, but why the second desire? Why not a desire for riches? It sure seems like that would be considered a blessing. Who does not want a blessing?

The last verse gives us the reasoning for why the writer asks to be fed “with the food that is needful for me.” He wants just enough. No more and no less than what is necessary for life. If there is an excess, there is a danger that one might forget God because there is no need for him. If there is a lack, there is the danger of resorting to stealing to obtain food. Such behavior would profane God. So, this is a prayer of one who desires to honor God and wants all obstacles to doing that removed. We should all desire the same thing in our lives. Lord, give us the things we need and withhold those things that would pull us away from you.


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The Poor and Injustice

Reading the Word

Proverbs 13:23 (ESV)
23 The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice.

Understanding and Applying the Word

What causes people to be poor? Well, there are many reasons we could discuss. A common reason mentioned in the book of Proverbs is sloth, or laziness. However, we must not think that every poor person is lazy or that every poor person is to blame for their poverty. Today’s proverb tells us that some poverty is caused through injustice. Those who are more powerful keep some in poverty.

Christians must be known for justice. We want what pleases God and he is pleased when we do what is right. We live in a world where injustice is prevalent., so we must continue to work for justice and continue to proclaim the gospel to all people. The gospel tells us that all people are created in the image of God and that Christ died for a who will turn to him in faith.


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A Poor Widow’s Offering

person holding pink piggy coin bank

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Reading the Word

Mark 12:41–44 (ESV)

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Parallel Text: Luke 21:1-4

Understanding and Applying the Word

In today’s passage we read of a woman who gave “two small copper coins, which make a penny.” The coins that are mentioned are lepta. A lepton was a Jewish coin worth about 1/128th of a day’s wage. So, two coins would have only been worth about 1/64th of a daily wage. The two coins were of a very small value. They were insignificant by worldly standards.

Jesus commented on the woman’s offering and remarked that the woman had given more than the rich people who put in large sums. Why did he say this? Because the rich gave out of their excess. It was easy for them to give the amounts they did. They would never miss it! However, the woman was poor and gave all that she had to live on. Her gift was truly sacrificial and revealed what was truly valuable to her.

It is a well-known saying: “Show me what a person spends his money on and I will tell you what is truly important to him.” What would our financial records reveal about us. Do we put God and his kingdom first, or are we only ready and willing to give out of our excess? How we use our money, possessions, and time truly reveals what is most important to us.

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