August 11, Friday

The AMI QT Devotionals from August 7-11 are provided by Pastor Ryun Chang who writes about his recent teaching trip to Cuba. 

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS FOR TODAY

“Can one desire too much of a good thing?” (Shakespeare)

Jeremiah 9:23-4

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, 24  but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.

Once, Pastor Barry bought me a scrumptious lobster roll while visiting his Boston church in 2015. Although just thinking about eating another one still whets my appetite, I dare not order a lobster plate at a restaurant because of its prohibitive cost. So, it’s a great irony that I got to eat lobster three times that week in Cuba. While its price (about $2) is still too high for most Cubans (making about $30 a month) to consume, my host spared no expense to feed me well. But, as I was eating yet another lobster tail on my last day in Cuba, I felt neither excited nor craved to eat it. So, “can one desire too much of a good thing”? I would say “yes” and so does the Scripture.

Wealth is highly desired by many but “whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income” (Ecc. 6:6). Knowledge is coveted as well, and perhaps more so today since opportunity for higher education is readily available and accessible, but, “of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body” (Ecc. 12:12).

Everyone hopes for close relationships with friend and family, yet one big problem cast a shadow over them, which atheist French philosopher Luc Ferry captures well: “[Man] . . . knows that he will die and that his near ones, those he loves, will die.” Certainly, the Buddhist way of non-detachment can keep us from being hurt by the loss of love ones, but Ferry would have none of it: “Not only am I unable to prevent myself from forming attachments, I have no wish to do so.” I agree, but where I break with him is this: While this atheist is unwilling to believe God, choosing instead a life that he calls “a love of wisdom” (a life of open and honest dialogues), I choose a life of boasting about a God whose greatest expression of love toward us is found in His Son Christ.

Let us, therefore, stay vigilant so that we don’t allow our love for other things—whether it be wealth, knowledge, or even our loved ones, which will all ultimately disappoint us—to detach us from loving God, for “my heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee” (Augustine).

Prayer: Lord, what is life apart from knowing and being known by You? What meaning of life can I have apart from knowing that You love me personally. How unfathomable is it that You spared no expense in allowing Your Son to die in my stead so that I may have life. Thank You.
Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: John 20


Lunch Break Study

Read Proverb 30:8-9: “. . . 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?’”; Prov. 23:4: “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.”

1 Cor. 8:1 b, 3: This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. . .. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is another reason for which wealth can be desiring too much of a good thing (1 Tim. 6:9- 10)?
  2. What is another reason for which knowledge can be desiring too much a good thing?
  3. Should we stop trying to garner wealth and knowledge? How do Solomon and Paul, respectively, admonish us on this matter?

Notes

  1. The Proverb writer warns that too much wealth can produce the type of arrogance that leads to mitigating the importance of God in our lives. It always begins with the erosion of our dependence on God (money replaces him) that ultimately results in self-autonomy.
  2. The apostle Paul warns that too much knowledge can lead to being puffed up; that is, feeling and acting superior to those who have not accumulated as many degrees and attended as prestigious schools as they have. No one wants to be around those people!
  3. The writer admonishes us to seek wisdom that can curb our desire for more. Wisdom is to know whether our present faith and character is stable and mature enough to handle additional wealth and/or degrees. It is better to postpone our pursuit until we are ready. Paul admonishes us to prize being known by God above all things (instead of being known by your pedigree).

Evening Reflection

In the years past, Rich Mullins’ “Awesome God” was sung at many churches like an anthem to the Lord (https://goo.gl/F9QFUP). I invite you to sing along with this great declaration of our awe of God as a fitting way to end this day. Worship Him! Then, “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).

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