Thank God for the Leash

by Connie Vyverberg

Recently, I was looking out our living room window and saw a neighbor walking his dog.  It was fun watching the excitement and intrigue this dog had as it was stimulated by all the sights and smells of the outside world.  Even though this dog was on a long leash having some leeway to explore, it could never quite run far enough to experience everything in his sight.  Time after time, the dog would forget about the leash and take off running, only to be pulled back in line by its master.  At first, I thought it seemed cruel to break the desires and natural instincts from this animal.   As I continued to watch however, I noticed that our neighbor was gradually allowing his pet to experience a great deal of those outside stimulants; just not everything at once.  It became increasingly clear that the trainer was teaching his dog not to chase after every sight, sound and smell and to learn boundaries set for its own protection and well-being.  I began realizing that enforcing obedience was actually a loving thing for his master to do. 
After they drifted from sight, I began comparing this story with and wondering how Christians, if given an abundance of financial wealth, could actually manage to stay attached to their Master’s leash.  For over 3 decades, countless Christians have embraced the popular teachings on “Biblical Prosperity”; saying that the Lord wants His children to be rich.   How many of us however, if given tremendous wealth, would be like our neighbor’s dog and quickly begin to touch, taste and smell all of the worldly, experiences, stimulations and temptations that we came across?  Like a dog without a leash, how many, if given wealth, would become quickly overwhelmed, unprepared and running unrestrained after things that are really not good for us?
 It’s vitally important for Christians that believe in “Bible Prosperity” to understand some of the things that an abundance of wealth brings with it; such as an abundance of responsibility, influence, power and freedom which all have the potential to be extremely dangerous if not properly prepared to handle them.  Increased freedom, influence and authority, is a powerful mixture.   In the wrong hands, even if one is a Christian, wealth and its trappings can do more harm than good because it comes with an endless number of temptations of every color and flavor.   Have you ever watched a spoiled child always getting everything he or she wants?  They quickly have the potential of becoming incorrigible.  A quick look at the lives of wealthy young movie stars and professional athletes can give us a snapshot of the potential for abuses.  Because of the inherent weaknesses and flaws of all humans, there remains the present and very real threat that power will corrupt and absolute power will corrupt absolutely.
Although it goes without saying that the Lord is a GREAT blesser of people, He is also a very wise Father who seems to closely watch over and monitor the material things which He brings or allows into His children’s lives.  Because of His great wisdom, love and goodness, He is much like our neighbor who carefully teaches and trains his dog to walk in obedience, while steadily increasing exposure and freedom.
Jesus once said to His disciples “Don’t always be wishing for what you don’t have.  For real life and real living are not related to how rich we are”( Luke 12:13). So whether we find ourselves rich, poor, or in-between, I believe the key is to find the Master’s prescribed boundaries and learn to be content in serving and loving Him! 

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