January 20

Psalm 62:9-12

“Put no confidence in extortion, and set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” vs. 10

The psalmist lived under a different economic system than we do. He would not have been familiar with either capitalism or socialism, but he did know the inclinations of the human heart. From the beginning of life in community there have been some who attempted extortion and robbery to get more goods for themselves; the psalmist says “Forget about it!” And most folks do. We’re aware of the commandment forbidding stealing; we know that if we do it, there’s a risk of going to prison. But that doesn’t stop people from trying to figure out ways to skirt the law and manipulate the flow of funds from others to themselves. Some are quite adept at it–and are often admired for their skill in using loopholes in making millions. And it’s all so pointless! It may well be that riches will increase in the course of our lives, but there are a ton of better ways to use our time and energy than in building cash reserves or making a fortune.Today is Inauguration Day in Washington–our country has a fresh chance to chart priorities and choose a direction. Some say the measure of our success will be the Stock Market, and as long as we’re building wealth we are pleasing God. The psalmist might suggest another way. Riches are no place to set our hearts. A better direction might be to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.”

Thought for the Day: Why do political opinions get so rigid?

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