Don’t we envy people who say, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing”?
King David did. He said he “was envious” when he saw the prosperity of those “always at ease” and increasing “in riches” (Ps 73:3, 12). These are people who say to themselves, “you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” and “have the time of your life!” (Lk 12:19 ESV, MSG)
Self-sufficient. In need of nothing. No one. Not even God.
They feel safe, protected, invincible. Intoxicated with unending pleasure.
It’s a storybook life. It best describes our highest ambition. It has been with us since the first day the devil whispered, “and you will be like God” (Gen 3:5). God is the only One who is independent, self-sufficient, and in need of nothing. All the rest of us depend on Him to give us life and breath (Acts 17:25). Who can say, “I need nothing”?
But that’s just it. We get intoxicated when we have too much.
We become blind to common sense. All of us know abundance doesn’t satisfy. It doesn’t last. There are too many stories of rich and famous people who fall to scandal, divorce, addictions, depression, bankruptcy, suicide.
But “the deceitfulness of riches” (Mk 4:19) makes us feel God-like.
We convince ourselves we need nothing. No one’s help. No one’s opinion. No one telling us we’re blind to God; blind to His demands on us; blind to how many days He’s given us on earth; and blind to eternity. We forget one day we must stand before Him to give an account of our life (Heb 4:13).
We are fools, Jesus said (Lk 12:20).
For King David, the envy stopped the moment he put his eyes on God. He realized those who put their trust in riches will have a bitter end (Ps 73:16-20). He chose a different path. He knew his need for the Lord: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps 73:25-26).
This is the testimony of those “rich toward God” (Lk 12:20). It’s also the testimony of the Bible. The Lord knows our need. He knows our sin, our lusts for the intoxicating pleasures of this world, and our longing to be like Him – independent, self-sufficient, self-contained. This is why the Father sent His Son to us to rescue us.
No Christian can ever say, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.”
But that’s the tragedy of it all. When our Lord spoke to the Christians at Laodicea, He found these words on their lips and in their hearts. As if they needed Him no longer.
As if they could handle life on their own.