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Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all. Proverbs 22:2

Try as we might to avoid it, we put labels on people. We judge them by the way they dress; the work they do; the church they go to; whether they go to church; their sexual orientation; their marital status and a whole list of other things. We don’t even realize it half the time!

I wonder how much anger would be removed from the world if we could just grasp the truth of Proverbs 22:2.

“The Lord is maker of us all.” It’s not our education that makes us. It’s not the government or unions or social status that makes us what we are. It’s the Lord God of heaven that determines the important things about us. I don’t buy into the idea that we are ‘all God’s children’ in the spiritual sense. Spiritually speaking there are plenty of passages in the Bible that tell us that a child of God is one who has accepted Christ as Savior and repented of their sin and called Jesus Lord.

But the Bible also says we are all made in God’s image, male and female, rich and poor, Christian or non-Christian. We don’t always understand the big ‘why’ questions. For example, why are some people rich and some poor? Is it because rich people are smarter? No. Is it because they try harder? Sometimes, but certainly not always. Is it because they were born into a situation that gave them their wealth? Again, sometimes but there are many people who have risen from poverty to wealth.

What is it then that makes us rich? The answer is really two-fold. First of all we need to re-define wealth. Wealth isn’t determined by what you have in your bank account, the size of your pension plan or your social standing. True wealth comes from within. It’s an attitude. So, in one sense we can all be wealthy in the things of the heart.

Secondly, anything we consider of value: money, talents, spiritual gifts, etc. comes directly from God. True wealth is not a government option. True wealth is not a result of unions or political action. God determines, for whatever reason, who is wealthy. Period.

Seek to grow wealthy in the important areas of your life. Seek to show mercy. Sow love. Cultivate compassion. Grow in the riches of Godliness through reading God’s Word, prayer and fellowshipping with others. Stop looking at what other people make or do or have. Focus on what God has given you. He is the true source of all wealth and His wealth lasts for eternity.

PRAYER: Another day Father where your word has cut me to the bone. So much of my anger, frustration and anxiety comes from what I have physically or what I want. I so often forget that anything I have or others have is directly a result of you. Forgive me for judging what others have as though it’s unfair or greedy. Empower me to seek True Wealth through you. In Jesus name, Amen.

 


Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank Proverbs 22:29

The difference between excellence and mediocrity can often be determined by our attitude about God, ourselves and others. Of the three, our view of ourselves is perhaps the most powerful adversary to our rising to excellence.

If we see ourselves as failures, we will most likely never rise to excellence. We look at past failures and say to ourselves “I’ll never amount to anything. Everything I’ve ever done has failed. The more we dwell on our failures the easier it is to become afraid to fail, complacent in what we do, or just give up all together. I wonder if even the Apostle Paul was near that point when he wrote in his letter to the Romans “The things I want to do I never do, the things I hate doing, I always do.”

The Bible is full of stories of people just like you who have failed in life. Time and again they’ve picked themselves up only to be knocked down. But God used them in mighty ways. Don’t let the past keep you from excelling into the future.

Another hindrance to our rising to the level of excellence is our view of what success really is. Often we measure success by what other people have done or are doing. This is true in the spiritual realm, the physical realm, and the emotional/relational realm. We look at someone else’s job, skills, ‘spirituality’, spouse, etc. and say, I’ll never succeed. Look at how well Mary prays or how well Joe does his job.

Excellence is a personal thing. Your Heavenly Father is the one that bestowed gifts on you. He is the one that gives you opportunities to use those gifts. Excellence in your corner of the world may never be seen by others outside of your own circle. That doesn’t make it less excellent. Stop comparing yourself to others. Be the very best you can be. Accept your flaws, work to correct what you can and do what you can to make your corner of the world brighter.

When our past gets in the way or we are surrounded by people who seem to have ‘made it’ it’s easy to play the blame game as well. We ask God why He won’t do for us what He did for them. We may even get angry with Him and doubt His wisdom, power or existence. That’s the time to step back and remember that God’s desire is for you to rely on Him, not to have a bunch of friends and be famous. Excellence to God is being godly parents, children and members of our community who walk in close relationship to Him.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Don’t let the past act as handcuffs in keeping you from living the future to its fullest. Allow God to work through you to be the best you can be. He isn’t looking for cookie-cutter Christians. He’s looking for people of excellence.

PRAYER: Father, there are some many times when I’ve allowed my view of myself or the view others have of me to keep me from being excellent for you. Forgive me for basing who I am on what I see in others. Empower me to be excellent in everything I do today, in each life I touch and every task I do. For I exist to glorify You, not myself. In Jesus name, Amen.

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