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Saturday, September 3, 2011

9/4/11 The Purpose of Labor and the Deceit of Riches

Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22)

 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
(Exodus 20:17)

Thoughts: We have the perception that we do not have enough.  But compared to whom?  The median income for the world is right over $8,000/year or $22 a day (roughly 3.1 billion live on less than $8,000/year). Kenya is roughly $4.50/day/capita; Uganda $4.38/day/capita. The United States is not number one, but still has a per captia gdp of $47,200 (somewhere between 7th and 9th in the world).  Yet, we are in the bottom half of the world in unemployment rate (9.2% is about 100th out of 193 countries rated).  A lot of what is dragging us down is our debt- both household debt, bad debt held by our banks, and exceeding debt by our federal government. Much of the reason we came into so much debt is the perception that we deserve to have more than what our income allows.  Our economy has slowed and it remains to be seen how we will take being told we must live within our means. 
    The deceit of riches is that they are never enough to satisfy.  Ecclesiastes says that the eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear of hearing (1:8).  Peace doesn't come with a bigger house, newer car, or longer boat.  Peace comes from being content with God- and being content with what He gives us.  Peace shows itself in our focus.  The neighbor is not just someone who might be able to give us something- but someone for whom we care.  If our focus is right, we are able to let go of our tight grip on this world and open our hand with generosity to God and neighbor. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to be a generous person, focusing on you and others.

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