Wealth and Wisdom: Reflections on Psalm 49.


It’s a strange habit we have in this culture: work as hard as you can to secure a time in which you no longer have to work so you can enjoy your “stuff.”

Or, become as smart as you can in order to outsmart everyone else, and to have a few letters before and after your name.

Is there anything inherently wrong possessions? No.

Is there anything wrong with seeking intelligence and wisdom? No.

However, both wealth and wisdom should be sought after with a certain understanding.

“Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life” (Psalm 49:7).

And, “even the wise die; the fool the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others” (Psalm 49:10).

Psalm 49 seems to suggest that seeking both wealth and wisdom as an end in and of themselves is a foolish endeavor.

Why? Not because they are not good things that God may bless you with, but because “when [you die you] will carry nothing away; [your] glory will not go down after [you]” (Psalm 49:17).

Seeking wealth and wisdom as an end leads to the same death as that of a begging fool, but using wealth and wisdom as a means to a Greater End carries deep understanding.

Seeking riches in this life? Good. Earn them. But understand they will fade, and the only thing that will matter is what you did with those riches.

Seeking wisdom? Great. But understand that it too will fade, and all that will matter is what you did with that wisdom.

Do not seek wealth for wealth’s sake, nor seek wisdom for wisdom’s sake. Instead, seek those things and use them for Jesus’ and other’s sake.

Because a “man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:20).


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