What can mankind do that will be eternal? Will our monuments last through the ages? Will our great deeds be remembered in perpetuity? Is there anything in this life which we can accumulate as a payment to God for the redemption of our souls? If there is nothing we can do, nothing that we can accumulate, that will last through the ages, what then is the purpose of our insignificant lives?

Hear this, all peoples; Give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together.

My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.

I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will disclose my dark saying on the harp.

Why should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?

Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him—for the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever—that he should continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit.

For he sees wise men die; Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish, and leave their wealth to others.

Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, their dwelling places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names.

Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain; He is like the beasts that perish.

This is the way of those who are foolish, and of their posterity who approve their sayings. Selah

Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me. Selah

Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, then the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him.

Though while he lives he blesses himself (For men will praise you when you do well for yourself), he shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see light.

A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, is like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 49

This Who Trust in Wealth

There are those who will spend this life acquiring wealth, whether it be in the form of money, power, material goods, or even a wealth of experiences. While these things can make this life more comfortable, material goods will not stay with us, money cannot buy our salvation, and political power cannot away God. We cannot use any of these to achieve salvation for ourselves.

There will be some Christians who accumulate power and wealth as well, they cannot use these things to buy the salvation of others. In fact, the wealth they accumulate will be passed on to others after their death, and that wealth will only serve to tempt the flesh of those who inherit it. In this way, the very people they thought they could help with money may well be condemned as a result of it.

Do not spend your time in this world struggling to accumulate wealth, it will not serve you well.

Do Not Fear Those Who Have Wealth

Not all of those who accumulate wealth will be redeemable. In fact, some may be outright evil. While these folks may have wealth and power, there is no reason to fear them. Their wealth and power cannot sway God, the one that controls life itself. If we are with God, we have no reason to fear even death. But those who would use their money and power for evil have every reason to fear death. When they die, they will be at the full mercy of God, and their money or power whom they served as a master will not speak up to defend them.

After the wealthy and powerful die, we have only ourselves to blame for their remembrance. Hitler, Genghis Kahn, and others that obtained wealth and power in order to gain control over the world have all ended up in the same place, the grave. Their empires have been lost, monuments crumbled away, or are crumbling away, and the people they once terrorized have moved on. They are only remembered in the pages of history books, and within one generation their memories could be completely wiped away. The fate of their impact on the world rests in the pages of books, and they are rendered no more powerful than a character from a child’s storybook.

Given this, what do we have to fear from evil? A short period of suffering? That is the worst that evil can do to us, unless we allow it to corrupt our hearts towards the Lord. Unless we allow evil to rule over us. Then we will find ourselves in the same position as those who sought to make us suffer, condemned at the feet of God. It would be better to embrace our suffering here, in this life, than to find ourselves at odds with our Creator.

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