I am not a good grocery shopper. Whatever part of the brain is supposed to remember the aisle baking powder is on must have been hijacked by the part that enjoys engaging in debate. Furthermore, I am intractably frugal, so once I do find the item on the list, the debate part of my brain kicks into high gear: “This one is 48 cents less per ounce.” “But it isn’t organic; will the consequences on our family’s health cost more than the immediate savings?” “But were potato chips on the list of foods that need to be organic?” I have two depression-era grandfathers to thank for this penny pinching filter. They are both with Jesus now, which brings me to my point.
Here at the end of our eight weeks spent in the beatitudes, the blessing I still find most difficult to wrap my mind around is Matthew 5:5–“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” The promise of inheriting the earth derives from Psalm 37:11–“But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” The phrase “delight themselves in abundant peace” is an antonym of “frugality” and “penny pinching.” It connotes a person whose life is flooded with flourishing and prosperity such that they no longer look at price tags or worry that resources will dry up. They delight in abundance.
What makes this promise challenging to embrace is that frugality can be a godly thing in this age. The biblical phrase for it is “wise stewardship.” God is not honored when I blow half my paycheck mindlessly at the grocery store, disabling me from fulfilling other financial commitments. Yet hyper-frugality can constrict my world to the financial bottom line, which in turn yields resentment toward those less frugal and disregard toward the economically disadvantaged. Aware of these extremes of carelessness and callousness, how am I to view my resources in light of my destiny of abundance and prosperity?
Psalm 37 helps us with the answer. Consider the contrast of the wicked and righteous in verses 21-22: “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off.” On the one hand, carelessness with money is categorized as “wicked.” Yet the alternative is not tight-fistedness but generosity. Why is the righteous person generous and giving? Because “those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land.”
We live in an age of limited resources, and should steward our resources accordingly. However, as followers of King Jesus, this age will soon give way to an age in which we will delight in abundant peace. This should set us free from hoarding or scraping to a life of wise generosity as we anticipate our limitless inheritance.
I will likely continue to compare price-per-ounce tags at the grocery store. But I should give equal time considering the copious, endless wealth that is coming my way so my heart can treasure what will last and call others to receive this inheritance as well.