Have Sympathy for the Rich Man
Good Morning from the Bitterroot Valley;
The majestic snow covered Bitterroot Range glows orange as the sun comes up this morning. There seems to be a recurring theme lately in the news that at its core is envy of the rich, taking what the rich have and giving it to the poor. I am sure it will increase as the Occupy Movement moves into phase 2 this summer.
But the Bible has a much different perspective of the rich man. In Luke 18:25 it says; Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Now I don’t know about you, but I have never attempted that feat! I know from scripture that there are rich men in heaven so obviously this verse is not saying you cannot get into heaven if you are rich. I think if you read the text in Luke, it is saying that it is easy to get caught up in money and ‘stuff’ and lose sight of things of eternal value.
Who is a rich man really? If you are talking about the world today, then you are a rich man. Virtually everyone in America is in the top 5-10% of the richest people in the world. I know, you are saying: “I am not rich! I can barely meet all the bills that come in.” Well there are billions that only live on a few dollars a day and don’t know where their families next meal is coming from. Now I am not trying to get you too feel guilty, but rather to look at your situation from a world perspective. These verses could very well be speaking to you directly as a rich man. If not they give us a perspective that we don’t see in the daily news.
With all this in mind, I would again like to take a look at a few verses in Psalms.
Psalm 49: 1. Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world, 2. both low and high, rich and poor alike: 3. My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding.
This Psalm is written to all people, no matter what their station in life.
4. I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle: 5. Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me—6. those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? 7. No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him—8. the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—9. that he should live on forever and not see decay.
So we see here that no matter how rich a man becomes, there is not enough money in the world to buy life from God. We will all die and we cannot extend our own life or another’s.
10. For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. 11. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves.
Even though the rich name lands after them…or buildings or streets… whatever, they all perish and take none of their riches with them. I don’t believe that there is anything inherently wrong with naming something after yourself, but you need to realize that it has no eternal significance.
12. But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. 13. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. “Selah” 14.Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions.
If all you have for your life lived on earth is some money and ‘things’ that you piled up around yourself; then death will be truly terrible. I believe this alludes to an eternal judgment from God as we will see below.
15. But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. “Selah” 16. Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; 17. for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.
I believe we live in a culture that seeks after the life style of the rich. Many TV shows have been made that take us to see that world. It is easy to be drawn into saying; “boy I wish I could live that way!” But how many of those people are truly happy? How many of those have the security of eternal salvation, really knowing where they will be going when they die? Do we really want that life we see on TV?
18. Though while he lived he counted himself blessed– and men praise you when you prosper—19. he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light [of life]. 20. A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.
So if you’re rich you can’t get into heaven? No, some of the Psalms were written by David, you know King David, one of the richest men in the world. It is just saying that where your treasure is, what is important to you, where you spend your time and money, is a guide to where your heart, and eventually where your soul is headed. The more money and riches you have, the easier it is to rely on them than to rely on God for your needs. If you don’t know where your next meal is coming from you are much more likely to be seeking God in the most simple and everyday needs. If you can buy everything your heart desires, you are missing out on the most important things in life.
So give that rich guy a little sympathy today. He may be having a great time now but not storing up any treasure in heaven where moth and rust doesn’t corrupt it. If that is the case then he will not wake up one morning and his earthly treasure will be gone and his eternal state will be dismal.
- But God… (footsoldiers4christ.wordpress.com)
- Are You “A Christian” Or Are You “Christian”? (ptl2010.com)