WHO ARE FOOLING?
The compilers of the Psalter wanted to continue the theme of putting faith in God to deliver, so they chose this psalm written by one of Korah’s sons. It seems they had the same situation back then that we experience today. That is: some believe that the rich and famous, the powerful and influential, are guaranteed a better standing in the world to come because of their standing down here. They need not attend church, read their Bibles, or be known for their prayer life. The theory is that God will reward them for their good works, not their faith. The Psalmist knew better and wanted everyone to know the truth.
“Listen everyone, whether you are an ordinary person or a celebrity, whether you are rich or poor; I’m going to give you some wise advice and make it very clear. I will let this parable speak for me, which I’m putting into song and music so it will be easier to remember: ‘Don’t lose faith when things begin to fall apart because those all around you have fallen into immoral living; especially those people who think that getting rich will solve all their problem; those who foolishly seek lavish lifestyles. Let me tell you something, no amount of money can buy eternal life or pay the price for redemption that our One True God requires. The amount needed to purchase redemption is beyond anyone’s means, so stop trying.’ Does anyone think they can buy eternal life and somehow bypass the grave? No matter how intelligent or successful a person may be, they will end up in the grave just like those who are ignorant failures; leaving everything they have behind for others to spend. Even though their estates are named after them, their grave will become their future home, as it will for all those who follow in their footsteps. Every person should know that they cannot take their wealth with them; death will treat them like any other creature. Only those who are self-absorbed think otherwise, along with anyone else who believes such nonsense.” Psalm 49:1-13
Reflection: Recently a poll was conducted at Rockefeller Center in New York City, and only 4% of those polled knew anything about the Rockefeller family, or how they accumulated their wealth. Most of their riches came from investments in Standard Oil, which later became known as Exxon and Mobil. J. D. Rockefeller also helped found Chase Manhattan Bank. By 1911 his estimated worth was $900 million, which would be $9 billion in today’s money. When he died in 1937 he had given away over $500 million. He helped found the University of Chicago; the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research – now Rockefeller University. He also gave $5 million to help found the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; helped in the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, and built the Rockefeller Center in 1931. Yet, for all his wealth, influence and generous giving, Rockefeller will face the same judgment seat of God as all the beggars who died on the streets of New York during the great depression. He will have no advantage over them based on his high standing as a friend of presidents and kings. That’s why we should never allow ourselves to be compared to another person’s standing in this world, but let the great Judge pronounce His decision based on our standing in the world to come.