Prosperity Can Lead to Neglect
Reading: Psalm 30
As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
You always want to get to that place where things are running smoothly, where everyone in the family is in a groove. You know, where the bills are paid up and there’s some money left over for pizza; the washer and dryer aren’t giving you any trouble; you’re communicating well with your spouse; your job is going well… We feel really content when life is humming along nicely.
But that’s also the point at which we become complacent, isn’t it? And actually, it’s really the point at which we get proud. We look around and we see how things are going and we think, “What could go wrong from here?” But that’s right when things usually begin to take a turn for the worse. We forget that it’s all on account of the Lord’s favor, a gift from our loving Father. And after a while we start to take it for granted, even to think we deserve it, that we’ve earned it. This can happen with anything: our house, our business, our spouse, our children, even our relationship with God.
So what is left for God to do? He loves us. He’s not going to leave us in this place. No, he has to correct us. So he withdraws. He hides his face from us. He shows us how our lives are on shaky ground, shows us how things could change in an instant. He startles us out of our complacency. And this, too, is grace.
Where have you become complacent and neglectful in your life? Is it with your job? Your spouse? Your kids? Is it with God himself? Have you ignored his word or slacked in prayer? You can know the answer to these questions by asking another question: how much do I take all of this for granted? Is there an abiding gratefulness for what God has given you? Or do you find yourself grumbling and possessed of a demanding spirit?
Let God disrupt your complacency and your comfort. “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Father, forgive us. We take for granted so many things that are really gifts from you. Forgive us when we demand things from you as though we deserved them. Forgive us when we neglect our relationships—with you, with our spouse, with our kids, our neighbors, our friends. Revive us, Lord. Make us grateful.
But please be gentle with us. Teach us with all patience.