Tuesday, October 09, 2018

October 9, 2018

“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17
Is it possible that a climbing suicide rate is tied to fixing hope on the uncertainty of riches? Perhaps the answer is not that simple, but a principle applies nevertheless. Possessions are not worthy of fixing our hope on, and for the stated reason that they are uncertain. Few things are more revealing of the fickle uncertainty of wealth as the endless rollercoaster ride of the stock market. I’ve known people who track in real time the rise and fall of their stock investments throughout the day. It seemed a singular obsession. That characterizes someone who has chosen to “fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches.” Sadly, they are on a collision course with ultimate disillusionment. A poignant reminder of the fickle uncertainty of wealth is well summed up this way: “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” Proverbs 23:4-5 
We have a hummingbird feeder on our back patio. Few creatures are as fascinating as hummingbirds, with their astonishingly rapid wing flap rate of approximately eighty flaps per second. Emitting a pleasant humming sound as they hover near the feeder, they are a delight to watch. But, as quickly as they appear, they are gone. They are nature’s reminder of the uncertainty of wealth as a means for hope, which easily “makes itself wings” and disappears.
The focus of hope must be on the Giver, and not the gift. The Giver is changeless; the gift  is temporal. We have what we have because the Giver chose to place it in our hands. We may have worked for it, invested it, or inherited it, but Creator God is the ultimate source, whether we choose to acknowledge that fact or not. What we possess may be for a lifetime, or for a brief moment; no one knows which it is or will be. Truly, it may be here today, and gone tomorrow. 
Too avoid the problem of wealthy conceit, or undue hope in what we have, we must learn and practice the secret of holding things loosely. The appropriate gesture is the open hand, not the clinched fist. An open hand can both give and receive, but the clenched fist literally has a death grip on that which it contains. To hold things loosely is to agree with this profound statement made by a man from ancient times named Job: “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21 
- from the upcoming book, "Hope for Uncertain Times"