Proverbs 23:4-5

Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,

Cease from your consideration of it.

When you set your eyes on it, it is gone.

For wealth certainly makes itself wings

Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.

Behind the command in verse 4 lie two questions: what are worthwhile ends of hard work? And what is worth our consideration (or, for that matter, our eyeballs?)? Yet, even if we nail those dense, slippery questions down, there's another problem here: how exactly are we supposed to recognize and control what we're considering on any given day?

Big wave surfers drown because, though they can hold their breath for a minute or more on land, it's almost impossible to hit even 30 or 45 seconds when you're being tossed and pummeled under a series of waves: there we glimpse the difference between reading these verses and thinking "hmmm, yes, I should not be so focused on wealth and material things!" on the one hand and actually changing how we think, what we value, what we desire, and what we worship amidst all of the crashing waves and sneaky undertows of daily life on the other.

But as we celebrate the coming of a God who is with us, who has defeated death, and whose power is made perfect in our weakness, what better time to hope for that kind of change?

Joe Volk