“Two things I ask of you, LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
In just about every offering teaching, we hear all forms of the words “abundance” and “overflow” being used on blessings we receive. What we like to hear is a “pressed down, shaken together and running over” kind of teaching (Malachi 3:8-12; Luke 6:38). If we are blessed to be a blessing as Abraham was (2 Corinthians 9:8-12; Genesis 12:1-4), then we should be as rich as possible so that our giving can abound right? So we desire greater and greater riches.
No one says mediocre is just as good. Living with just enough is some new sin that must be avoided at all cost. And if you are poor, you’re not living in God’s promises. We are led to believe that mediocre should not be in a Christian’s dictionary.
Few hear the seriousness in Jesus’ voice when he says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24; Mark 10:25) Fewer heed 1 Timothy 6:9 – “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” Those are certainly not popular verses when it comes to offering teaching.
Proverbs 30:8-9 tells us that mediocre is quite alright and has spiritual benefits. God’s plan is that we are wholeheartedly happy with having just enough – what we need. And why not? Our dependence upon God is dependent on our refusal to depend on ourselves. And we know that He always meets our needs because He is a providing God (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:25-34; 2 Corinthians 9:8). So why chase after more than is beneficial for us to have?
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
But don’t take Proverbs 30:8-9 to mean that we shouldn’t save and live hand-to-mouth; many other verses commend us to save up if we can (Proverbs 6:6-8, 21:20). Just as important as saving financially is investing spiritually by giving (Luke 12:21; Matthew 6:19-24). We give within our means (2 Corinthians 8:12) to help us and the community to keep that balance to stay in the just enough zone (2 Corinthians 8:13-15). That I believe is God’s plan.
So our lifestyle need not increase exponentially (and unsustainabily) when our income increases. Instead, our giving should increase “in keeping with your income” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).