Many people look for qualities such as wisdom, wealth, power, and kindness in others, and are drawn to those who possess such, especially in the workplace. It is natural to want to be around those who can take care of us, rescue us, love us, deal with problems, and treat us kindly. This way of thinking can become unhealthy when we place more faith in others, and what they may be able to do, rather than trusting in the One who created each of us and is able to give blessings. Each of these qualities can fail at any moment and a person’s attitude can change. God, however, never changes! Jeremiah tells us in chapter 9 that we must not depend on these things because man will eventually fail when he rejects God and ceases to accept His ways.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 “23 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”
Strength will fail us without God’s hand to guide us. Goliath was mighty and strong, yet a little shepherd boy would conquer him with a small stone. Samson is another example of what can happen when we neglect instruction from the Lord and rely on our own strength. As we look to riches, we see the many things that it cannot buy. It will not purchase peace, salvation, devotion, love, loyalty, joy, nor life eternal. Wealth can disappear in a moment as well rational thinking. Without God, wisdom has no source (Proverbs 2:6-8) and even the most reputable people can become outwitted in times of trial and frustration.
Be encouraged today that faith placed in the King of kings will never fail you. People will always have days they fail to exercise kindness, love, and good judgment, but the Lord will always show these things and we should delight in that! How wonderful that our Lord and Savior loves us so much that even in our sin and unrighteousness He loved us, shed His blood, and made a way for reconciliation! That’s Who I will trust. That’s Who I will praise. That’s Who I will serve.
God wants us to know Him personally and live a life that reflects a healthy relationship. Our priorities need to be sorted if we are more concerned with people admiring us for what we possess rather than how we live. Verse 24 tells us that we should rejoice because we know the Lord, not because we have strength, wisdom, or wealth. Place your faith and joy in what is everlasting. Things of this world are only temporary and will eventually let you down.
I pray, “Father, forgive me when I desire qualities and possession more than I desire to know You. You are perfect and unchanging, and You loved me while I was still lost in sin. You are a good Father and I did not deserve Your Son, Jesus — but You still sent Him to take my place. I delight in You, You are my strength. Help me this day to show Your loving kindness to others in need, in Jesus’ name I ask, amen.”
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.