How to Be Rich Without Killing Yourself (Proverbs)

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How to Be Rich Without Killing Yourself

Let Go

I still remember the day that father took me up the mountain.
I gripped the bundle of wood tightly, desperate.
My hands swelled white with the strain
Fingers hurt beneath the grip
But I wasn’t letting go!
The marks would race across my palms
long after I dropped the pack.
Scars remain long past the hurt.

Dad had his hands full.
Dad carried his heart.
No, it didn’t beat from his sleeve or stream from his face.
Sometimes you have to look to see the world shaking.
The earthquake splitting my father’s heart it two
wouldn’t even measure on the Richter scale.
Those old-man hands shook with every step;
afraid that if he let go, let it out,
the shaking would wrack his body long
after his war-drum heart stopped

When we reached the top
I didn’t want to let go of my pack.
It was my one job, to hold the wood,
and letting go would mean I had nothing left.
The hardest thing to let go of is the one we hold too tight.
Finally I gave in, placed the logs on the alter,
sacrificing more than even my father knew.

He looked at me, tears in his eyes,
the first crack of that storm inside.
It was only then that I realized
he had given up everything for me.
His whole life waiting to raise me.
His whole life longing for the Promise.
He had me carry it all because without me he had nothing left
Everything hung on this wood, on my shoulders
A weight far too heavy for a father’s hands to carry.

I held the wood.
My body lay atop it, tied to this tree.
The knife shook in my father’s hands,
sky rolling and crashing above.
Could he pierce my skin?
Give up? Let go? Give in?
Knowing that scars remain long after the hurt.
The hardest thing to let go of is the one we hold too tight.
One bridge to cross between everything and nothing.
One cross to bear.
One knife to plunge.
One sacrifice to make.
One… and yet everything.
Sacrificing more than even I knew.

The end flashed in lightning strikes
Thunder groaned in agony.
My father turned his face away.
A weight for too heavy
for a father’s hands to carry
Couldn’t look. Couldn’t watch
Everything that he held dear torn away.
One knife to cut apart his dream. Cast lots
to keep the tattered remains of his heart together

“Stop.” The voice stilled his hand.
Father fell down.
Vulnerable. Broken.
Heart sacrificed on the alter of his ego.
The voice spoke through tears:
“The hardest thing to let go of is the one you hold too tight.
Now I know
you would give up everything for me.”

Looking back, I remember that day well.
I was only a boy then
barely knew the meaning of the word
But memories are perfect scars,
remain long after my father’s war-drum heart stopped beating.
He sacrificed more than even he knew:
A weight for too heavy for a son’s heart to carry.
So, I carry the wood, transfer the weight from shoulders to alter,
And let go.

Psalm 49:12-13, 16-17
12 Man in his pomp will not remain;
he is like the beasts that perish.
13 This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts.

16 Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,
when the glory of his house increases.
17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
his glory will not go down after him.

Proverbs 18:10-11
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
they imagine it a wall too high to scale.

Proverbs 13:7
We can pretend to be rich, yet have nothing;
or pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth.

Proverbs 30:7-9
7 Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
8 Take falsehood and lying far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9 lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.

Deuteronomy 8:11-19
“Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery….You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”

But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.

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