Deuteronomy 8:10-18

You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you. Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today.

When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good.

Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today. Deuteronomy 8:10-18

I spent some time yesterday with a senior member of our congregation. She was telling me about a recent purchase she had made. It was pricey and well worth it. She told me that a friend questioned her about spending so much money. As I was listening to the story I came to her defense, “But it was YOUR money you were spending, wasn’t it?”

Without hesitation she said, “No it is not my money. It is God’s money.”

Bam. That is one of the things I appreciate about spending time with people who have been around the block a few more times than me. I always learn something.

Just last week, at our stewardship team meeting, I had led a devotion that got us thinking about what it means to say that God is the owner of everything. And then how quickly we leave such thoughts behind when we start talking about money and property and taxes. Last week I made my points with the group…and then yesterday I was reminded of how quickly I too can get my thinking all twisted up.

It is a constant challenge, isn’t it? We might even pray to God for help along the way but how quickly we forget when good things happen and we take all the credit ourselves.

It often reminds me of one of those poems that every child learns (or used to learn):

Little Jack Horner

Sat in the corner,

Eating a Christmas pie;

He put in his thumb,

And pulled out a plum,

And said ‘What a good boy am I!

I’m assuming here that Jack didn’t build the house or the chair. He didn’t bake the pie. And yet he gives himself credit for earning a moral red ribbon for accidentally sticking his thumb in a plum. “Do not say to yourself, ‘My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth…”

Let us pray: Dear Lord, thank you for all that we have and all that we are. Thank you that we have enough and more than enough. We have plenty to share with others. We have far more than we deserve and the true riches in our lives are not what we have earned. Help us keep that straight. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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