Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Psalm 119:36-37
Saint Augustine of Hippo, one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all times, said, “Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence.” These profound words strike hard at the materialistic life many mainstream Americans strive to live. The desire to have more than we need, to hoard all we can, and to climb the ladder of success without regard for others can easily build a wall between us and God. Once this happens, our eternal lives are forever placed in jeopardy.
Today’s passage from Psalm 119 cautions us about selfish gain and worthless things. In fact, the Psalmist asks God to keep his heart focused on the statutes (God’s Holy Word) rather than on selfish gain and worthless things. How easy it is to slide away from the Scriptures and snuggle up to selfish gain. It can happen so very innocently as we climb each rung of the “success ladder.” However, staying rooted in God’s Holy Word can fill our hearts with worthy things thereby turning our eyes away from worthless things.
I write about this because I’ve been caught up in “worthless things and selfish gain” in my life. But nothing changes your perspective like a diagnosis of Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. All of a sudden, everything you’ve amassed in life becomes worthless! It has little meaning and actually becomes a burden. After my diagnosis, I started shedding many of the things I no longer needed. I sold property, gave “worthless things” away to charity, and reduced my wants. Then I began a more focused look at the Scriptures so I could spend my time on worthy things rather than worthless things.
If you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, perhaps it is time to begin your focused look at the Scriptures. Ask God to turn your heart away from selfish gain and worthless things and instead turn your eyes toward His Statutes. You will find wonderful things that bring you strength, hope, peace, and comfort for the rough road ahead. Then you too will be focused on worthy things rather than worthless things.