The Third Way..."neither/nor".
7 "Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
Once again, God speaks to the danger of either/or thinking. The fact of the matter is that everyone has to seek wisdom in whatever situation they find themselves. There is danger on both sides of any issue.
This passage promotes, in case you didn't see it, a neither/nor way of thinking. Which is similar to both/and, but not completely aligned. It focuses on the negatives that dwell in either polarity. Either extreme leads to a destructive end...either you disown God because you don't needs him anymore, or you dishonor him because you don't trust him anymore. Neither great options.
Jesus even quoted this very concept in the "Lord's Prayer" when he said, "Give us this day our daily bread." Based on the context of this verse, Jesus was after something greater than a "once for all" approach to godliness. It will be a daily consultation with God, a daily surrender to his move, a daily reliance on him for your sustenance, your survival. When you lock into "one or the other", you move away from him and into your sacred and secured position of self-reliance and self-settling.
"Settling" into a belief system for the sake of personal comfort takes you away from a "daily bread" openness to God. We are people who want to know where our next meal is coming from before we can relax. We want to secure our "weekly bread", or "monthly bread", our "yearly bread"...heck, who am I kiddin'...we want our "lifetime bread"! We don't want to stay in a daily conversation following God into the mystery of the moment. We want the final answer today on all questions pertaining to life and living. The more we can climb into a construct or constitution, the better we feel about ourselves.
I've noticed something about Christianity that bothers me immensely, namely, the language we chose to promote our preferred patterns of living. Books are written and the titles given to them speak a "one and only" language that easily drifts toward a pride that comes with exclusivity and polarity.
Just think about some of the books that hit the "best sellers" and what they name themselves:
"Growing Kids God’s Way" isn’t the only and best treatment on Parenting.
"21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" isn’t the only and best book on Leadership.
"Wild at Heart" isn’t the only and best way for a man to live a wild Biblical Masculinity.
"Financial Peace University" isn’t the only and best method for experiencing Financial Peace.
"Freedom in Christ" isn’t the only and best path to finding freedom in Christ.
"The Purpose Driven Life" isn’t’ the only and best way to find purpose in life.
All of these books are great...I've read them and grafted pieces of each into the truth-trunck of my faith. But to say that any one of these is the "end all"-"know all" treatment of their respective fields of interest is to truncate truth in my opinion. Each of them isn't as important as All of them. They all "see through a glass darkly" hitting on some things and missing some things all at the same time. Each of these models needs other models to fill in their blind spots. And whether you or I know it, we all have blind spots. Every opinion has blind spots. We only see what we can see. There is no omniscient opinion other than God's and we would do well to not deify our position as the long lost "holy grail". There is only one "all-seeing eye" and it is neither you nor I.
When you write something and title it "Growing Kids God's Way"...you are not thinking rightly about yourself or God. It should be titled something like, "An exploration of God's thoughts on raising kids". This keeps us searching for the "Daily Bread" on the bottomless subject of parenting looking for God to reveal new truths that we never saw before. No matter the topic, we are only ever going to see it "through a glass darkly" and the sooner we acknowledge our inability to be the "Sovereign Sage" on particular subjects, the sooner God will speak his heart to the hearers. Our need to "lock in" causes us to come to pretty hasty and half-hearted conclusions.
So Lord, help me as I limp toward you with my mortal mind. Help me to resist settling for "either/or" when it's foolish to do so. Help me to get better at being ok with "neither/nor" when life calls for that kind of stance on an issue. And above all, help me to hold convictions without letting go of You. No matter the issue, keep my heart humble and my mind poised.
I need you, Lord. Every hour I need you. Give me this day my daily bread.