The Way to Be Wealthy and Happy!
James Smith, 1859
"The lions may grow weak and hungry—but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." Psalm 34:10
To be in need is painful, especially to be in need of some particular things. Originally man had no needs, everything was provided for him, and presented to him in abundance. But when man sinned, he forfeited his inheritance, and was reduced to poverty and degradation. Now need is common, it is universal. Where shall we go, to whom shall we speak—to find a person who has no needs?
However many mistake wishes for needs. And while the Lord has promised to supply all his people's needs, he has no where promised to gratify all their wishes. Needs are painful enough, and oftentimes hard to be borne—but wishes are more so. Let us now,
Look at the painful condition of many.They are in need, and in need of good things. Some need good things for the body, as food, clothing, health, home, or friends. Poverty is a sore evil to the flesh. It is a heavy cross. To a proud person—it is a crushing burden.
But the number of those who need good things for the
soul is greater. What multitudes there are . . .
who are condemned for sin—and need a pardon;
who have troubled spirits—and need peace;
who have polluted hearts—and need purity;
who have anxious spirits—and need satisfaction;
who have aspiring minds—and need nobler prospects.
For the lack of these things, they are unhappy, they have no settled rest, no solid peace. And the worst feature of the case is—that they don't even know their needs, or what is necessary to make them happy! If they did, they might soon be raised above their needs, for here we have,
The divinely prescribed way to rise above need."Those who seek the Lord, shall not lack any good thing." The way to be wealthy, is to seek the Lord, for the blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. If we would escape from need, we must seek to know the Lord. He has revealed himself in his word. He has manifested himself in the person and work of his Son. He reveals himself to the soul, by the teaching and operations of his Holy Spirit. It is not enough to hear of God, to think of God, to speak of God, or even to pray to God; but we must truly know God. Know him so as to yield the heart to him. Know him so as to confide in him, and delight to obey him.
We must seek to please him. Everything we do, either pleases, or displeases, the Lord. Man by nature never troubles himself about pleasing God—but if the Spirit of God dwells in us, the grand end of life, and the principal aim in every action will be, to please God. The highest eulogy that could be passed on Enoch was, that before his translation, he had this testimony, that he pleased God. Let us please God—and then it is of little consequence whom we displease.
We should seek to enjoy God. God in Christ is the source of all real happiness. There is in God, everything to make us happy. If therefore we know God, and seek to please him—we shall be made happy by him. His presence, his word, and his grace—will make us happy anywhere, and under any circumstances; and will enable us to say, "Whom have I in heaven but you, and there is none upon earth, that I desire beside you!" Seeking to know, please, and enjoy the Lord, we have—
A positive assurance is given us, that we shall not lack any good thing. This assurance is given us by a man of experience and observation, who could say, "I was young and now I am old—yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." It was given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, and therefore may be implicitly depended on.
Those who seek the Lord may be sick, or poor, or tried, in a variety of ways; but the Lord will send them supplies, OR give them the grace of contentment, so that they shall not lack.
We really need very little—therefore the apostle says, "If we have food and clothing—we will be content with that!" 1 Timothy 6:8. And again, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5
"They shall not lack any good thing." That is, they shall not lack whatever is really good for them at the time, and under the circumstances. Whatever will promote their holiness and happiness—shall be conveyed to them.
Therefore with confidence we say, "Look to the generations of old, did ever any trust in the Lord—and were confounded?" Or with the suffering Savior, "Our fathers trusted in you; they trusted, and you delivered them."
Those who seek the Lord are sure of necessary supplies, for four reasons:
First, the Lord is ABLE to supply them. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.
Second, he DESIRES to supply them. "Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him. He knows our frame—he remembers that we are dust."
Third, he has PROMISED to supply them. "The Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." "My God shall supply all your needs, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Fourth, he ALWAYS HAS supplied them. Look at Jacob, at David—and at all who have already arrived in glory. If the question, put by the Lord Jesus, to his disciples, when they returned from their missionary tour, on which he sent them without purse or bag, was put to them, "Have you lacked anything?" Every one of them would readily answer, "Nothing, Lord!"
As therefore we know not what is before us in this world, it is wise to prepare for the worst—and to secure all good things. But as this can only be done by seeking the Lord, let us seek him at once, with all possible earnestness, and let us seek him always. If we sincerely seek him—he has promised that we shall find him. If we seek him, we shall know his will, prove the truth of his word, and enjoy his happy-making blessing.
If we seek to know him experimentally, to please him universally, and to enjoy him as our chief good—he will shine into our hearts, giving us the knowledge of himself! He will visit us, sup with us, and smile upon us! He will shed abroad his love in our hearts, and confer foretastes of heaven upon us. And, O blessed testimony of our beloved Lord, who speaking to his Father said, "This is life eternal, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."