24If you cheat your parents
and don't think it's wrong,
you are a common thief.
25Selfish people cause trouble,
but you will live a full life
if you trust the Lord.
26Only fools would trust
what they alone think,
but if you live by wisdom,
you will do all right.
The idea of honouring your mother and father loomed large in the Hebrew imagination. It is specifically commanded in the Torah (the first five books of the bible) (Exodus 20:12). So the idea of robbing them blind (v 24) would be shocking to a listener of the time. And today, we can appreciate that a downward spiral of wanton and selfish acquisitiveness in the family might lead to dysfunctional family life.
One of Jesus’ many references to the Torah is in Matthew 19:16-22, and concerns a story normally entitled “the rich young ruler.” Here is not someone who is going to rip off his parents in the pursuit of wealth. On the contrary he checks all the boxes as far as honouring his parents goes and much more besides. Neither is this someone on a self-destructive path of greed. He’d got keeping the rules down to the point where he realized there had to be something more to life. Jesus strikes insightfully at the heart of the rich young man’s problem – trust. When it came to it he put more trust in the stuff he owned than in the God he was trying so hard to serve.
It’s not what you have that enriches you, it’s who you depend on for your enrichment.
Dear Father God, Keep me ever grateful for the good things I have. Preserve me from putting other things before you. Give me the kind of insights that help me use my resources well. And thank you for my mom and dad. Amen.