Day 11

Woe to the Complacent



Amos 6:1-14, Amos 7:1-17, Psalm 47:1-9, Acts 4:13-20

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Amos 6:1-14, Amos 7:1-17, Psalm 47:1-9, Acts 4:13-20

It’s hard to read Amos without squirming.

Throughout this short book—chapter 6, in particular—Amos paints a scene of extravagance and wealth. Israel is at the height of its splendor. Riches, comfort, leisure, and affluence are all theirs for the taking. They are privileged to the extreme, a portrait that sounds quite a bit like many countries and cultures we inhabit today.

Mistakenly, the Israelites hoarded their opulence as “blessing.” They saw the provision as an end in itself, a gift from God to be indulged. They also drew security from it. They took pride and comfort in being more powerful than the countries around them. They measured success by having more of it than their neighbors.

God rebuked them for their greed, and in the strongest possible terms, because He viewed blessing quite differently than the Israelites. God did not intend for the Israelites to prosper simply to luxuriate in it. He did not provide them with wealth simply as an assurance of security. And He did not allow them ease of life simply to grow complacent. The blessings of God were never meant to be stored up like grain. In the wake of God’s judgment on Israel’s pride, Amos cried out, “Lord God, please forgive!” (7:2).

Thousands of years later, Amos’s words are as relevant as ever. We continue to live in a world of vast economic disparity. From country to country, and even community to community, the range of prosperity is wide. In some cities, multi-million dollar homes sit within miles of homeless shelters and housing projects, and Christians populate them both. And so, wherever we fall on this spectrum of wealth, Amos challenges us with this question:

What are we to do with our blessing?

Whatever the size and the shape of our privilege, how are we to use it? Amos compels us to consider this question, but so does the witness of Christ. Jesus, after all, “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” but “took the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7), meaning He leveraged His privilege for others. Jesus denied Himself comfort and set His splendor aside out of love for God and the world. We cannot claim to follow Him without following Him in this also.

Jesus’ handling of His own privilege is the standard passed down to us. When we want to know what to do with our blessing, we look to Christ. When we enjoy success, gain, or even a leg up, we are never meant to hoard it for ourselves. Rather, as followers of Jesus, we are meant to leverage our blessing for others, just as He did for us.

This is radical. Even in the Church, this is radical. When blessing comes our way, it’s easy to receive it as a personal reward for faithfulness. Or it’s tempting to store it away for the sake of financial security. Neither response is wrong in itself, but our vision should always be bigger than ourselves. God’s intention for blessing is never individual; He always has a broader blessing in view.

Just as Israel was meant to be a light to the nations, and the Church a light in the world, everything we are given has a greater purpose. May we steward our blessings accordingly.  

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Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and she holds a PhD on women and calling. She blogs at SheWorships.com, and is the author of Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You.

Post Comments (53)

53 thoughts on "Woe to the Complacent"

  1. Kendra says:

    Jesus,

    I thank you for another day and for your unconditional love and grace. I thank you for the blessings that you have graciously given me, blessings I don’t deserve and that I don’t always recognize. Jesus I pray that you help me to recognize my blessings and to use them not just for me, but to bring glory to your name. Jesus I pray today that you change my mindset, that every area of my mind that is distracted by things of this world or distracted by my worries, cares, fears, or focused in the wrong area I pray Lord that you give me a new mind and a new way to think about things. Lord help me to resist the temptation to go backwards in any area of my life, to resist the temptation to give in to my flesh, lord help me to change my mind about these areas and to be different. Jesus, I thank you for who you are and I ask for forgiveness right now for being so complacent in my life. Jesus I pray that you shake me, that you give me your heart and that you renew my desire for you and for the things that truly matter. I need your help Jesus, I am nothing without you. I thank you that you are good and that your mercy endures forever. Jesus, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Change me Lord, help me in times of loneliness to choose you, in times of struggle to choose you, in times of disappointment to choose you and even in times of blessing to choose you and your plan. Lord let your Will be done in my life, help me Lord to not loose sight of you in my life. I need you Jesus. Help me Lord, and whatever you do don’t take your hands off of me. I need your plan to be fulfilled in my life.

    In Jesus Name
    Amen ♥️

  2. Allison Joy says:

    The verses that really stood out to me are Amos 6:10b-11. “‘Keep quiet. For the name of the Lord is not to be mentioned. For behold, the LORD is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces and the small house to fragments.” They treat is as though if they ignore God, He will forget and leave them alone. But in reality, calling on the name of the Lord is the only thing that could have saved them.

  3. Sheree says:

    Thanks so much for this needed insight! It was really spot on. It’s easy to feel that blessings are my ‘reward’ as if I have earned them on my
    own and not as God’s grace and goodness meant to be shared.

  4. Christy says:

    So good, thank you Sharon!

  5. Xara says:

    As a black woman, this resonated with me on more than one level. Thank you.

  6. Blessed says:

    We’re struggling with thithing. We are on one income, we barely have much money left once bills are paid. Do we tithe anyway and pray for the best? My husband says no, I say yes. Ugh. Any thoughts on this would be so helpful!

    1. Vanessa says:

      Not tithing does not make you a bad person. It’s more or less a sign of your faith. Tithing is for many other reasons, but are you not tithing out of fear or out of practicality?

      Mark 12: 41-44 is a parable called the “Widow’s Offering”.
      https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12:41-44

      I don’t think this parable is to pressure you into submission. I think it’s to show her faith. So whether you continue to tithe or not, I think it’s more of where your faith is at. I really think you do have faith in His provisions, but it seems you are not sure if temporarily not tithing mean you are disobeying God. I know some people may cease to tithe for a few months but when their debts are paid they catch up on all their tithes later when they can. It just depends on what you can do/want to do.

      Just know, if you two prayerfully come to a decision that right now is not the best time, you still have God’s grace. You can’t earn God’s love by tithing. Depending on your church even, if you are NOT members many pastors actually do not require or expect tithes. I can’t say what you should do. I am unemployed and have a hefty credit card bill to pay off, but I know in the past when I showed my faith through tithing despite my struggles, God has found a way for me.

      If you choose not to tithe right now, I pray peace over your finances and in your marriage. Again, God understands. But if you choose to tithe, consciously pray over your tithe and God will honor your faith. God honors small acts done in faith.

      I read somewhere that tithing is a way to figure out if you’re holding on to money too much as security, so again, it’s a faith thing. But this is especially hard to figure out if you’re in debt because debt isn’t biblical. It’s like, “Do I keep tithing while in debt or wait when I’m out of debt?” If you really, really, really think you can’t tithe, you can volunteer and help your church in other ways. Give away things you don’t use or need to people who do need it. God calls us to give in other ways, too. Not just tithes. Just “be still” and in that moment of quiet God will whisper to you. You can never do wrong if you act out of FAITH, not fear. <3

      1. April says:

        Yes!! Agree & your words help me as well.

      2. Brandi says:

        I really appreciate your insight on this! Thank you!

      3. Nancy says:

        Great perspective! Thanks for your insight.

    2. Joanne says:

      There are 2 issues at work here. One is the tithe. I am older and have lived in a variety of settings including married with one income barely above minimum wage, homeless shelters, low income hosing, rented house while in college and now with good income and I own the house. I had children in all of these settings. I want to encourage you and your husband to obey God and tithe. There will be great struggle as there almost always is with obedience. That being said, I absolutely do not want to encourage you to aggravate your husband but rather to patiently pray for him. Discussing the issue with your minister may be an option.

      1. Allison says:

        Totally agree with Joanne! Also, when we are called to give, it is never the scrapings that are left over after all other things are paid off. We are called to give our first fruits! Pray and ask God to provide after that. And I assure you, He will! Praying for you along this journey of faith!

    3. Emily says:

      I grew up in a home with a single mother who worked 2-3 jobs to support me and my sisters. We didn’t have much, but my mom always set a good example for us in tithing/giving. Because she made giving a priority, God always showed His faithfulness to us and we never went without. The lessons I learned from her obedience to tithe and God’s blessings are ones that helped shape my giving as an adult. My husband was not raised in the same way, and thus it took awhile for him to see the importance of tithing, even when you have very little. Continue to pray for your husband and have faith that God will provide! I promise you that when we are obedient with little, He will entrust us with much more than we could ever ask or imagine!

      1. Celeste says:

        So true. Tithing is not obligation but rather honoring and obeying God. In Malachia 3:8, 10 we see a question being raised in verse 8 and an answer later in verse 10. Tithing is a way we allow God for open up blessings for us, and proves our total dependence. The Lord surely understands but still His word doesn’t change. We rob God and ourselves when we do not give. I am a young mother and married for almost 3 years, none of us either me or hubby holds a full time job but that has taught us to be dependent on God. In many cases we would tithe and give and the Lord continues to provide. God is our only source and the only provider. If we belong to Him, our money too. Seek the Lord on this matter and submit to your husband. The Lord is faithful and if you honor Him, surely He will too. Blessings

        1. Blessed says:

          You all are so awesome! Thank you for your responses. I am going to pray on this!!! Thank you ❤️

    4. Erin says:

      We’ve struggled with tithing over the years – honestly, we’ve never made much (and had lots of debt). However, I can tell you from experience, when we were making less than $30,000/year, we decided to make tithing a priority. We love God and we wanted to show that through our tithing. Each month, we would do our budget (although, we’re terrible at budget making!), take out our offerings first, and gave online right away. Sure, that may have meant that we couldn’t pay more on our credit card and had to deal with the consequence of paying interest (or other things). Even though it was stressful some months, and sometimes we didn’t know how it was logically going to work, it DID. Giving God our first fruits financially was a leap of faith for us, and experiencing God’s faithfulness was a joy. His faithfulness was so evident–this was about 1-2 years before discerning that we were being called into overseas missions–before we began that journey of raising support, we were able to sell our home and made a big profit on it (due to the market and fixing it up!) and we were able to pay off all remaining debt ($40,000+). Now, being in missions – we struggle with tithes as we live on way less and we’ve been getting used to the different challenges we face here financially (we’re in Europe). Your comment has been a good reminder for me of our experience of giving back to God was He has given to us–one that I needed to remember to embrace tithing again! As a side note, we also saw that when we were tithing regularly our attitudes changed – we wanted to give MORE (whether it was helping someone else financially, giving time, etc)!

  7. Christine says:

    The words of Amos just jumped off the page to me today. “I was not a prophet or the son of a prophet… But the Lord took me from following the flock…”. I was a broken woman – but the Lord took me. I was a heroin addict – but the Lord took me. I was a liar, a thief – but the the Lord took me. The Lord took me from the darkness and flooded me with light. He took me from the filth and washed me clean. Whiter than snow. He took me from my pain and set a crown upon my head. And now – I am unable to stop speaking about what I have seen and heard!!! Praise the Lord for He is holy and precious and I love Him so.

    1. EarlyBird says:

      Praise the Lord! May His name always be glorified in and through you and the story of hope you have to share with so many! God bless you!

    2. DebbieinAZ says:

      Beautifully said. Thanks for sharing.

    3. Jess says:

      Praise the Lord Christine! Your post brought me to tears!

    4. Courtney W says:

      Beautiful!

    5. Lexi says:

      God is so so good. I love to hear stories like yours (I have my own), and see how our always loving Father picks us up by our boot straps and draws us nearer to Him. ❤️

  8. Sarah D. says:

    Hey guys! Haven’t commented in awhile…hope you all are doing well! ❤️could you guys please pray for me? Been struggling with my biology and chemistry classes lately, didn’t get good grades on the tests. It’s just been frustrating, because I felt like I studied well for the biology test, and I ended up doing worse than the first one. Chemistry is just a struggle in itself…going to go to office hours and tutoring, to try to get some help. I talked with my sister yesterday after I found out my grade, and she reminded me how I’m still learning how to study and that it’s okay if I don’t get good grades at first…praying that I’ll have the perseverance and diligence to work hard and try my best to understand. And to trust in the Lord, that He will help me through it. Love you all!

    1. Ebony says:

      Sarah! I’m praying because I’m having this same problem right now! I just got my first Chem test back and I didn’t pass! I only have two more test and they make up 70 of our grade. I’m praying about dropping and taking it again next semester! Soooo I KNOW what this is like! Don’t give up friend! Sometimes we have to work a little harder than others to achieve things! But God will give you strength and wisdom because HE is strength and wisdom! Praying you prosper! Keep me posted ❤️

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Sarah, we are praying for you today – for wisdom, patience and perseverance in your studies. We are so glad to have you as a part of this community, and we appreciate you sharing your journey with us. <3 - Abby, The SRT Team

    3. Tori Rose says:

      I know the chem struggle well. The thing that motivated me to try my best on it was to think about how complex God created the things that we can’t even see! The subject is one of my least favourites but God wanted to ise it to show me something about his nature. I pray that God would do the same for you and that it would encourage you! (Also Khan academy has great videos on chem which I found immensely helpful!)

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