May 5 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.”   ~1 Kings 10:23-24

God kept His promise to give King Solomon wisdom, as well as riches and fame, and the biblical writers weren’t shy about discussing his wealth and accomplishments. In today’s reading, the magnificence of the king’s reign is described in effusive detail, which raises questions about the proper attitude toward wealth and fame. Many Christians simply do not know what to do with this topic. On the one hand, we have passages in Scripture that warn us about the dangers of wealth, and so some Christians take a very negative view of it (Mark 10:17-27, 1 Tim. 6:10-17). In extreme cases, people view poverty as the mark of a truly spiritual person. On the other hand, Scripture characterizes wealth as a gift and a blessing. For example, God delivered on His promise to bring Israel into a land flowing with milk and honey and large, flourishing cities (Deut. 6:3). Other biblical models include Job, Abraham, and of course Solomon, as well as the positive attitude toward wealth found in Proverbs.

If we want to claim to have a biblical viewpoint on a subject, we have to read ALL that Scripture has to say about it. A survey of the Bible’s wisdom on wealth suggests several guiding principles. First, material blessings are gifts from God and they are to be enjoyed by His people. There is simply no getting around the biblical language on this! Even warnings about the dangers of wealth are balanced by reminders of its Source and His intentions for His blessing. Often caution and suggestion are in the same passage! (Look at 1 Timothy 6:17 again.) Second, wealth has inherent dangers that we must be aware of. Even in small amounts, money can do strange things to the heart. The pursuit of it can turn a person away from God, the possession of it can create pride, and the maintaining of it (or the loss of it) can destroy a person’s life (1 Tim. 6:9). Third, all blessings, including wealth, should be used for good so that others may be helped and encouraged. Solomon enjoyed his wealth, but he also used it for the commonweal. Do not make the mistake of holding so tightly to the blessing of God that it becomes a curse.

Imagine what our churches and communities would look like if more people decided to let their blessings flow through their hands instead of just into them. What if more people made these commitments: 1) I will give at least 10-percent of my income, and I will increase my offering as God increases my blessing; 2) I will be faithful in church attendance, even when I have the time and resources to be elsewhere; 3) I will seek out worthy causes and give my time and resources for the good of others; and 4) I will praise God every single day for His goodness, thereby living out the words of the worship song Blessed Be Your Name, “Every blessing you pour out, I turn back to praise.” May God’s blessing increase our worship and enjoyment of HIM!

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.