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Connect the Testaments

June 1: What Wealth Reveals
2 Chronicles 1:1–3:17; Titus 1:1–4; Psalm 91:1–16
“What would you do if you won the lottery?”
This question always seems to generate the same responses: There’s the person who devises an investment strategy, the dreamer who envisions ending global poverty, the individual who would travel the world, and the person who would buy the house, boat, or car they’ve always wanted.
These responses tell us something about each person’s character and what fulfills them. The root of these desires reveals something about how they perceive their identity in relationship to their culture, family, and God. They feel “in their identity” or “most themselves” when they pursue happiness, others’ happiness, or the things they want.
Solomon experiences an unexpected “wish” scenario. Like winning the lottery or being granted three wishes, Solomon’s response reveals what is important to him, the core of his identity, and how God responds to people who know what He desires. God says to the king, “Ask what I shall give to you” (2 Chr. 1:7). Solomon replies with some of the most humble words ever spoken: “Now, give to me wisdom and knowledge that I may go out and come in before this people [an idiom for a type of leading], for who can judge this, your great people?” (2 Chr. 1:10).
In response, God reminds Solomon of all the great things he passed up in this moment, and how doing so showed his true character. As a result, God says that He will also bless Solomon with “wealth, possessions, and honor” (2 Chr 1:11–12). Solomon’s humility demonstrates what it looks like to have a godly identity that’s focused on others rather than ourselves.
To combat selfishness, Paul regularly reminds himself and others that he is “a slave of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of the chosen of God and knowledge of the truth that is according to godliness” (Titus 1:1). He grounds his statement by testifying to God’s eternal work (Titus 1:2–4).
The difference between present gain and eternal gain is focus: Are we working toward the eternal good of God’s work or the temporal good of our own success? When we align ourselves with who God created us to be, our desires become His desires. Our thirst for gain is quenched by God—sometimes surprisingly. We, like Solomon and Paul, should understand our role in God’s work and request what we need to fulfill that role, trusting that He will provide the rest.
What would you do if you came into a large sum of money? How can you align your desires with God’s?
John D. Barry


 Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

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