We have a friend who grew up in Benin, West Africa. Her family practised Voodoo worship, as protection from the curses. They were also significantly wealthy, due to her father’s position in seafaring, and that meant they needed a lot of Voodoo dolls to protect them from the envy (and curses) of their neighbors. But one particular day, my friend’s father, Alberic, lost his job. His boat was stolen, and the family lost all their power and wealth. It was desolation in a moment. But at the same time, Alberic was invited to a local church, and he happened to hear a sermon on Ecclesiastes. The speaker said that everything in this life, even wealth and power, was transient and meaningless without God. Wealth can be hoarded, but it is never enough. Alberic was amazed. How did the speaker know him? He responded to God, on the spot, and put his trust in Jesus. Later, every one of the family members also came to faith in Jesus. They burnt all their Voodoo. Afterwards, Alberic would often quote from Ecclesiastes. ‘Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart.’ (Ecclesiastes 5:15.) But he definitely knew where true riches lay. He was overwhelmingly thankful for his identity in Christ, and he no longer needed the Voodoo. He also knew the importance of holding riches lightly, and the joy of holding on to Christ with everything he had.
Reflect: Are there material or worldly resources that we hold on to so tightly that our knuckles feel white? How could we relax our grip today, and hold on more tightly to the joy and hope of knowing Christ?
Prayer: Lord, we confess that we are often tempted to grip on to the security or the influence of our financial position or status. Please teach us to hold wealth and even material resources lightly, and to hold on to you with everything we have.