It has begun: the holiday advertising season. Whenever I turn on the television, I am already being bombarded with images of things I do not need but certainly would like. I’d like to have a new car with a big red bow in my driveway and the finest clothing wrapped under the tree on Christmas morning. I would appreciate a 50” TV in my living room and an IPhone 6S in my hand. With a mere 33 more shopping days until Christmas, I cannot imagine how long my wish list might get. And, in the words of part-time philosopher Veruca Salt, “I want it now!”
“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. Proverbs 30:7–9 (NIV)
These words, written by a man named Agur nearly 3,000 years ago, are as profound now as they were when they were penned. It is pure wisdom to ask the Lord for ‘not-too-much and not-too-little’, for what is just right for today; otherwise, we may become prideful and deny God’s provision or prone to sin in order to secure what we lack and dishonor God’s name. It is a blessing to have what you need and neither desire more nor require more. It is a joy to have sufficient and not be gripped with fear – the fear of stolen treasures for the rich and the fear of starving children for the poor.
Maybe we should be glad that these ads are running so early in the season. Perhaps it is a blessing that they are running before Thanksgiving. That way they can serve as reminders that we don’t need every fancy thing and every new gadget to know that we have been provided for by God. We all have reason to give thanks. Some of us have more and some of us have less, but we all can give thanks that we have enough for today. Most of us can thank God that we have been given neither poverty nor riches.
Instead of complaining that the cell phone we use is an older model or that the job we have is awful, let us, for at least a few hours thank God for all that we have. May our only plea remain that God give us today our daily bread and our joy remain that we are showered often with so much more. May we thank God that we’ve not disowned Him or dishonored His name. May we remain content and rejoice that we have what we have — ‘not-too-much and not-too-little’. We will still have 26 days to dream about what we will get for Christmas.
“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks….” Psalm 75:1 (ESV)