Have you ever wished you didn’t have to keep an eye on your checking account before paying rent or your mortgage, fixing your car, or even buying food? Have you ever envied the people who are wealthy enough to spend lavishly, give freely, and never worry about finances?
This is a typical situation in America today if you ask me. Our entire economy of late is riding on consumer spending, which means we are expected to be dissatisfied, accumulating possessions and trying to live like the wealthy. Can you imagine an economist or politician at this particular juncture suggesting that everyone settle for what they have, remain content, and carefully save what they have, unless they want to share it with a charity?
The story is: You don’t have enough. You want to become like the wealthy, and the wealthy spend their money. In fact, the stock shares of the wealthy depend on YOU spending your money because you aren’t satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you have.
Scripture presents an alternative picture. Envying those who have it all in this world is viewed as slipping away from a focus on God. What does God value? A pure heart. That doesn’t really help the market.
With these thoughts in mind, have a look at Psalm 73.
Psalm 73: 1-17
1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong. [a]
5 They are free from the burdens common to man;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity [b] ;
the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
in their arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance. [c]
11 They say, “How can God know?
Does the Most High have knowledge?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always carefree, they increase in wealth.
13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure;
in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been plagued;
I have been punished every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it was oppressive to me
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny. (NIV, Bible Gateway)