Got Bucks??? ~ Fr. Terry Elkington

Hear this, all you peoples;
listen, all who live in this world,
both low and high,
rich and poor alike:
My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
I will turn my ear to a proverb;
with the harp I will expound my riddle:

Why should I fear when evil days come,
when wicked deceivers surround me—
those who trust in their wealth
and boast of their great riches?
No one can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for them—
the ransom for a life is costly,
no payment is ever enough—
so that they should live on forever
and not see decay.
10 For all can see that the wise die,
that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
leaving their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses[b] forever,
their dwellings for endless generations,
though they had[c] named lands after themselves.

12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure;
they are like the beasts that perish.

13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
and of their followers, who approve their sayings.[d]
14 They are like sheep and are destined to die;
death will be their shepherd
(but the upright will prevail over them in the morning).
Their forms will decay in the grave,
far from their princely mansions.
15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;
he will surely take me to himself.
16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
when the splendor of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.
18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
and people praise you when you prosper—
19 they will join those who have gone before them,
who will never again see the light of life.

20 People who have wealth but lack understanding   are like the beasts that perish.

In reflecting on Psalm 49, We must look within ourselves and realize that wealth won’t last: How should we think about the wealth of the wicked i.e. banks and money lenders of all types?  Should their power and prosperity cause us to worry? Yes absolutely! How should we feel when we have great abundance or lack of resources? Should these circumstances cause us to be either confident or afraid? This psalm answers these questions by reminding us that wealth won’t last. Wisdom teaches us that our financial situations are never an appropriate cause of fear or self-reliance. Let us look at Psalm 49’s clear-headed recognition that wealth won’t last.

Psalm 49:1-4 Explains that the following instructions carry wisdom for absolutely everyone—“both low and high, rich and poor alike”

(Psalm 49:2). The relevance of this psalm’s instruction about wealth is significant. It indicates that everyone needs to be taught how to view wealth wisely. “All who live in this world” (Psalm 49:1) are susceptible to temptation in this area. Money is the leading contender against faith in God!

Psalm 49:5- These passages ask, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Wealth may give us a false sense of immortality, but in the end it cannot save us from death. The ultimate futility of worldly wealth is worthless in the day of wrath. Turning our attention from this world to the next, we must realize that as a part of God’s creation, material resources such as money and wealth are good and not evil in themselves. Wealth has a limited capacity to insulate us from many of life’s dangers and difficulties. We should not despise wealth or deny its practical utility, but we must recognize how incredibly limited worldly wealth is from an eternal perspective (Psalm 49:7-9). Wealth is transient. Cars rust. Houses fall apart. Bank accounts dwindle. Sooner or later it all disappears.

For these very reasons, Jesus warns us not to store up treasures on earth, but in heaven.  Please remember “It’s not just because wealth might be lost; it’s because wealth will always be lost” Either it leaves us while we live, or we leave it when we die. No exceptions. Whether we are rich or poor, God can demand our lives of us at any moment. When that happens, the money we have will be of no use, but righteousness expressed by the right use of wealth will endure forever. (Psalm 49:16-20)  In closing when we see how our minds have been reoriented according to this “eternal perspective”, we will find wealth to be far less impressive and important.

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