In this week's Torah portion, Moses tells the Jewish people that after they enter the Land of Israel they must:
"Take care lest your forget the Lord, your God ... and you build good houses and ... you increase silver and gold ... and everything you have will increase ... and you will forget the Lord, your God, who took you out of ... Egypt from a house of slavery..." (Deuteronomy 8:11-14)
A LIFE LESSON
Moses made an emphatic plea to all of the Jewish people never to forget that God is the true and only source of everything - including all of the monetary success they ever have. Why was it necessary for Moses to drive this point home with such intensity?
The reason is that human beings habitually feel that when things go well, it was their doing and not God's. But if things go poorly, then it's God's fault and not theirs. We tend to take personal credit for things that go well in our lives and blame others if they go poorly. Think about it.
When something isn't going right in our lives (and if we believe that God exists and has the power to give us anything) we usually ask God to make things better. Whether it's through formalized prayer or a heartfelt request, we really do instinctively recognize the true and only source of everything and will ask the One who can instantly make something change. And although it might not be exactly what that you asked for or in your time table (because only God knows what's truly best for you), God usually answers our prayers. The fact is, God delivers time and time again.
Moses knew this all too well. But he also knew human nature just as well. So, he pleaded with the Jewish people that when "everything you have will increase," don't forget for one second who gave it to you.
Sadly, we forget this over and over again. We look at our newfound changed circumstances and somehow take personal credit for what we now have. If you're going to "blame" God when things don't go your way and ask Him to make things much better for you, simply saying "Thank God" when things get better isn't enough. Because unless you live with the reality that it was God Who made things better, then you will have missed an enormous opportunity to get closer to the One who controls all.
It's amazing just how often we quickly forget that it was God who we had just been praying to. Yes, He wants us to put in the effort to show to Him, ourselves, and those around us that we really do want something. And we have a Torah obligation to put forth this effort. But in the end, it is God who delivers and not us and He wants us to fight our inbred desire to take credit for something that we were actually given.
Don't forget Who the only source of your blessings is. In the same way you don't take credit for your sparkling blue eyes, the picturesque sunset, or the gorgeous multi-colored rose bush, so too, don't take credit for your monetary success. Know that the same source of "nature" that surrounds you is the same source of everything else you have. If you can live with this reality, know that you'll literally be walking with God.