Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain. Psalms 119:36 NRSV
Okay, choosing one verse from the longest Psalm was a hard thing to do! But, as I always try to do, I have focused on the one verse that seemed to "speak" to me. And that is what happened with verse 36.
This psalm is all about following God's laws and walking in God's ways. This specific verse reminds us of where our priorities need to be. Our time, energy and thoughts should be spent on God's word rather than making money. Certainly, this does not mean quitting our jobs in order to join a convent! However, I see so many people in this country who spend most of their waking hours trying to make money. Even in the ministry, it is expected for a pastor to work 60-80 hours per week. Thankfully, we are blessed in that we should be spending the majority of this time on our knees or with our nose in The Book. But what kind of example are we setting for our congregants?
Here, I need to be clear about the difference between selfish gain and making money for basic needs. Basic needs are food, clothing, shelter, and, of course, love. This does not include jet skis, club memberships, exotic vacations, name-brand clothing (ouch!), cable, cell phones or i-anything. Of course, our society has made it seem that all these other things are basic needs. Society tells us that, if our neighbors, friends and family have these things, they must be essential for me to have as well. And when we adopt this attitude (which, unfortunately we ALL have) we spend less time studying God's decrees and more time in "selfish gain."
God, save us from selfish gain. Give us a new perspective on what our basic needs are. Turn our hearts to study your word and your commands. Help us to make you our #1 priority. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims