“My family will never go hungry.” A famous athlete was talking about the millions of dollars he had made in his career. In one way we can appreciate his concern for his children and the way he had managed his money. He hadn’t neglected his family or squandered his wealth. But it was tragic that he used frequent profanity in the same interview that had to be edited. Instead of being humble and thankful before God he was arrogant and irreverent.
How do people like this become so wealthy? Indirectly, it is because God has made this country so prosperous. But the public directly empowers them. Actors, singers, and athletes entertain us and we are eager to pay them. Then we wonder why they act like they do.
Wealth gives people a false feeling of security. One country singer said he had more money than his grandchildren could ever spend. Even financial planners can be too conﬁdent. One advisor says you should save your money and “live like nobody else so you can live like nobody else.” It is good to be wise with your income, but where is the humility and fear of God in all this?
Jesus told about a rich man who made a good profit. That man planned to live many years off what he had accumulated. He said to himself, “You have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19). He had his retirement all laid out before him. But God told this successful businessman he was a fool (Luke 12:20). That very night he died. He was not a fool because he waited too long to enjoy his money. He was a fool because he assumed his things were really his, and he was an even bigger fool because he waited too long to prepare to meet God.
It is not wise to get our hopes up too high because life can change quickly, drastically, and permanently. There were women in Israel that were so high class that they wouldn’t walk barefoot outside. Moses said those same women would get so hungry one day that they would eat their own children (Deut. 28:56-57). That happened when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem. War can bring a country with all its pride and wealth to its knees.
One of the frustrations we must bear is seeing people who think “their houses shall continue forever” (Psalm 49:11). This is even harder when people pride themselves in the control they think they have over their very small part of the World. But God tells us not to fret. The Lord will “bring down high looks” (Psa. 18:27). Meanwhile, let us humbly say, “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:15).