A local man won the Florida lottery a couple weeks ago. He was beaming with his oversized “check” of $2 Million before taxes, and I’m sure that he will buy something that he’s always wanted. I laughed to myself that the jackpot was “low,” and thought how I only bought a ticket when the Powerball jackpot exceeded $200 Million. A man’s got to have his standards, right? Still, I felt a pang of jealousy as I thought about this guy, a life-long farmer, with his new-found riches. It was hard not to daydream “if that had only been me…”
Longing For What Others Have
Isn’t that the way we are sometimes? Someone else’s good fortune causes us to question “why not me instead of them?” Apparently that is an age-old manifestation of human nature. The Psalmist Asaph found himself moaning about “the prosperity of the wicked,” and thinking “they have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills” (Psalm 73:4-5). Not really, but it makes for good whining. He then let his mind go where we often do, comparing his lot in life to theirs:
“This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.” (Psalm 73:12-14)
Remembering What I Have
Asaph finally came to his senses, realizing that such thinking was “senseless and ignorant,” and only served to make him bitter (Psalm 73:21-22). What jolted him from his pity party? He remembered what we all should, and that is where our true wealth is found:
“Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:23-2)
When tempted to focus on what others have, or longing for my lucky numbers to be drawn, I would do well to remember that God is my True Portion. Forever. Unlike the stuff I sometimes set my mind on, that is a treasure worthy of celebration—one that won’t rust, fade, or be stolen. (Matthew 6:19-21).