16Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
17For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
18Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
19He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
20Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
Man and Beast
As a Christian, I am sure you have already been inundated with the thought that there really is no difference between man and animals. They are all creatures who are not responsible to any but themselves. Is that what the Bible teaches?
It is interesting to note that the last verse of Psalm 49 seems to reference this whole idea. What is the Psalmist really saying in verse 20?
These last five verses of Psalm 49 are actually a summary of the entire Psalm. Again the Psalmist speaks of the rich man. It is no secret that in our day the rich have much more power than the poor; that is not just a 21st century occurrence. Even in the days this Psalm was written, there was a reason the Psalmist said, "Be not thou afraid when one is made rich." Even in over 2000 years, some things do not change!
Yet, the Psalmist again helps us to see the bigger picture; no matter what a person's influence may be in this life, everything stops at death. All of those riches have no power in the grave; even if that person was a great philanthropist, money has no power in the eyes of God.
In the end, that is really all that matters. As you set goals for your life, how do you establish your priorities? As Christians, there is no greater priority than living our lives to the honor and glory of God, our Father, remembering that God is not appeased by our own seemingly good deeds. God looks on the heart, for everything we say and do actually stems from our heart attitude.
A heart that is sold to Christ will seek, above all, to love, honor, and obey Christ. Every single choice made is balanced by the Word of God. How is a young person to decide on such weighty matters as marriage and careers? How is a Christian to face the many choices that must be made in one's lifetime?
As a Christian, we understand that every trait we possess is given to us by God. It is our responsibility, when looking to the future, to consider our strengths, considering ways we can affectively serve Christ using the abilities we have. That does not necessarily mean every Christian has to become a pastor or missionary, but it does mean that every Christian must seek to honor and glorify God above all, no matter what his or her career choice may be.
In the end, when considering man and beast, we know that we are not like the beasts of the field. God has given to each person an eternal soul. As the Psalmist reminds us, the man who lives his entire life for himself, however, is much like the beasts that perish. No matter what deeds that man did on earth, he will be found wanting when he stands before Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Not so, however, for the Christian. No matter what may happen in this life, the Christian sees this life as just a tiny prelude to an eternity with Christ. What will that life be like? No one can even begin to understand the joy and glory that awaits us there! Imagine, being in the presence of God, Himself, in a world with no sin!
May God truly hasten the day!
God Bless You,