I have discovered over the years most Christians have an honest ambivalence toward money. A proper attitude of money, wealth, possessions, things (call it what you like) is a universal struggle regardless of one’s financial station in life. Author Philip Yancey summed up his ambivalence this way: “I feel pulled in opposite directions over the money issue. I want to sell all I own, join a Christian commune, and live out my days in intentional poverty. At other times, I want to rid myself of guilt and enjoy the fruits of our nation’s prosperity. Mostly, I wish I did not have to think about money at all.”
In Psalm 49 the psalmist reflected upon the wealth of the world and provides the answer to the question of how we should regard wealth regardless of the level of it God has entrusted to us. Notice the psalmist addresses himself to “all peoples,” ordinary folks, blue bloods, rich and destitute alike. He reminds us wealth so often can be here today and gone tomorrow, thus, a slippery foothold. After making the point that death is inevitable and the wealth of the world is of temporal value, he states in verse 15 his conviction that what he cannot do for himself, what the world’s wealth cannot buy, God will do for him. Only God can provide us with security; therefore, our confidence is placed best in Him not wealth. What a testimony! Then in verse 16 he advises us about priorities: “Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies….” And then he states this chilling declaration in verse 20: “A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.”
Let us, like the psalmist, advocate the proper attitude toward wealth. It is not to be despised, and it cannot be ignored; and it is both foolish and dangerous to put one’s trust in it. Jesus reiterated this truth repeatedly and with greater clarity (Lk 12:13-21).