Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Daily reading assignment: Psalms 48-50
After nearly 40 years in ministry, I have yet to see a U-Haul truck or trailer trailing a hearse to a cemetery (I have heard of a U-Haul truck employed to transport the deceased to a mortuary). The psalmist states the same sentiment when he wrote of a rich dead man, “For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him” (Psalm 49:17).
I once read a story of a conversation between two men following the death of John D. Rockefeller, perhaps the wealthiest man of his time. One man asked of Rockefeller, “How much did he leave behind?” The other man answered, “Everything; he left everything!”
The same is true of you, dear friend. Rich or poor, famous or infamous, popular or hated…You own nothing that you will take with you! When you die you will be no richer than you were the day you were born…you came forth from your mother’s womb naked (Ecclesiastes 5:15) and you will go to your grave with nothing more than the clothes on your back! Uncle Sam will pilfer all you have amassed with “death taxes” and the rest will be distributed as you directed; however, for you there will be nothing.
Psalm 49 reflects the pondering of a man who faced the reality many of us put off…his own mortality. Regardless of what you have amassed or how rich or poor you are, every man and woman will “leave their wealth to others” (49:10). Some, by acts of charity, and others by calling “their lands after their own names” (49:11), go to their graves hoping their legacy will live after they are gone; however, no man or woman can escape death (49:12, 14).
The apostle Paul reminded Timothy of these same truths when he wrote:
1 Timothy 6:6-10 – “But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
I close with Paul’s exhortation to Timothy: In light of the temporal nature of riches and the passing fancy of fame, “flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Timothy 6:11).
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith