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December 7, 1990

Don’t Be Too Impressed (Part Two)

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Do not be overawed when a man grows rich . . . for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. PSALM 49:16-17
We’re always going to be around people with more money than we have. Unless we bear the title of “richest person in the world,” there will always be someone with a bigger house, a nicer car, and a larger stock portfolio.
This passage makes the point that other people’s wealth should not be a big deal to us. We are not supposed to use the money gauge to determine how we act toward others. Sheer bank account volume tells us very little about people. We might be able to determine how much money they have, but we may have no idea how they got it, how they handle it, or whether they’re about to lose it all. Rather, we should evaluate them based on their characters, their levels of self-control, their hearts for God, their generosity, and the ways they handle their relationships.
Psalm 49:20 tells us “a man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.” This gives a big clue why people with money shouldn’t overawe us—if they refuse to acknowledge the ultimate source of their blessings, then they’re no better than an animal. In addition, no matter how financially secure they might be, they could lose it all tomorrow. That thought should help you keep things in perspective, too.
David doesn’t tell us to snub people with money, but he does ask us to examine our motives. Next time you’re tempted to give deference to a rich person, ask yourself, How would I be treating this person if he didn’t have any money? Am I hoping to build a relationship with him simply because he is wealthy and powerful and influential?

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