Someone once said, “People often spend money don’t have to buy things they don’t need to impress people that they don’t like.” The love for money often brings out the worst in people as it is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). That Scripture goes on to say, “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” I have watched the love of money send people to prison, split up marriages, and cause huge family disputes when someone passes. I’ve seen people discover relatives they didn’t know they had when money is involved. They disgracefully show up like that person who never talks to you until they disagree with you. Don’t get me wrong. Having money is not wrong unless money has you. The psalmist understands the trappings money can bring to one’s life and writes Psalm 49 as a warning of wisdom (v. 3) to everyone in the world (v. 1) whether rich or poor (v. 2).
In eight verses (vv. 5-12), the psalmist reminds the reader of several facts concerning money and eternity. Those who “trust in their wealth and boast of great riches” (v. 6) should not be instantly seen as prosperous and blessed (v. 5). Money cannot buy one’s place in heaven as “no one can redeem the life of another or give God a ransom for them” (v. 7). Money cannot keep one from eventually dying as “no payment is ever enough so that they should live on forever and not see decay” (vv. 8-9, 12). Money cannot be taken into eternity as everyone will eventually “perish, leaving their wealth to others” (v. 10). The psalmist even suggests it’s hard for the rich to enter heaven as “their tombs (elaborate and filled with riches) will remain their eternal homes” (v. 11). Jesus said the same thing (Matthew 19:23-24).
One may think the rich have it made on this earth, and perhaps they do from that perspective. What every person, rich and poor, must realize is that death is certain for all (Hebrews 9:27) and brings about eternity. Whether we have a few or billions of dollars is irrelevant at death and in eternity. While money may give some access to things and places on this earth, only the righteous “will prevail over them in the morning” (v. 14). Riches make a man look good on the outside, but cannot save the inner soul of a man. Those who place their trust in money will have their ultimate reward as death as the shepherd of their soul instead of the Good Shepherd for those who have trusted in Him (v. 14-15).
Earthly riches are temporary. Spiritual riches are eternal. The lure of money, or as Jesus called it “the deceitfulness of riches” (Mark 4:19) are “worries of this life” that can “choke out the Word and make it unfruitful”. It’s not always the case, but I’ve seen people who have chased a raise move not only away from a growing relationship with Christ in the local church but “wander from the faith” (1 Timothy 6:10) and are nowhere to be found in church or a growing relationship with Christ any longer! I’ve seen people choose a better earthly retirement over a heavenly calling. I ask, is gaining temporary riches on this earth worth the spiritual loss? Don’t be concerned when others gain riches, get bigger houses, and more possessions (Psalm 49:16). Money says, “If you can just get a little more of me, then you’ll have peace of mind and financial independence.” The promiscuous lie of money cannot bring satisfaction, security, or stability. Maybe that’s why we print “In God we trust” on our money? Those who chase money “take nothing with them when they die” (v. 17). The praise they receive from people for their earthly prosperity will soon vanish with their money (vv. 18-20). You can’t serve God and money (Matthew 6:24). If you are going to chase or serve anything in this life, may it be the Lord and not money. It’s a terrible master, but He is the terrific One.
- Do you think you’ll be happier with “just a little bit more”?
- Do you hoard wealth or are you generous?
- Are you a good steward with what God has entrusted you with, using it for Him?
- What possession do you have trouble giving up if God were to ask for it?
- What’s your perspective of those who have less and more than you?
- Do you see spiritual poverty and riches more than earthly ones?
- What voices are you listening to when it comes to money?
A Prayer using 1 Timothy 6:6-10:
Lord, help me to be content and grow in godliness. I brought nothing into this world and can take nothing out of it. May I be content and thankful for basic provisions like food and clothing. May foolish and harmful desires for money never trap me and plunge me into ruin and destruction. May I not love money, but You. May I never wander from the faith and pierce myself with the grief that comes from the love of money. Help me keep an eternal view of money. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.