July 6 | Bible in a Year: Job 32-33; Acts 14
A Flourishing Tree
Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
READ PROVERBS 11:24–30
I’ve always had a collector’s heart. As a kid, I collected stamps. Baseball cards. Comics. Now, as a parent, I see the same impulse in my kids. Sometimes I wonder, Do you really need another teddy bear?
Of course, it’s not about need. It’s about the allure of something new. Or sometimes the tantalizing draw of something old, something rare. Whatever captivates our imagination, we’re tempted to believe that if we only had “X,” our lives would be better. We’d be happy. Content.
Except those things never deliver the goods. Why? Because God created us to be filled by Him, not by the things that the world around us often insists will satisfy our longing hearts.
This tension is hardly new. Proverbs contrasts two ways of life: a life spent pursuing riches versus a life grounded in loving God and giving generously. In The Message, Eugene Peterson paraphrases Proverbs 11:28 like this: “A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.”
What a picture! Two ways of life: one flourishing and fruitful, one hollow and barren. The world insists that material abundance equals “the good life.” In contrast, God invites us to be rooted in Him, to experience His goodness, and to flourish fruitfully. And as we’re shaped by our relationship with Him, God reshapes our hearts and desires, transforming us from the inside out.
By Adam R. Holz
REFLECT & PRAY
Father, thank You for the good gifts You give. Help me to keep putting my trust in You rather than the stuff of this world.
When has an undue focus on material things become a major spiritual struggle for you? What helps you keep your desires in proper perspective?
The word thrive in Proverbs 11:28 is a translation of the Hebrew verb parach. It can mean “to break forth” as with a bud or blossom; or grow, spread, and spring up. “Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” This positive growth dynamic characterizes those who are rightly related to God (“the righteous”). We also see this word in Psalm 92: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God” (vv. 12-13). Arthur Jackson