Read Proverbs 11
I am going to spend a little time on one verse this morning—verse 7 of chapter 11.
First in the New International Version.
Hopes placed in mortals die with them;
all the promise of their power comes to nothing.
Now for the New King James version.
When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish,
And the hope of the unjust perishes.
And finally, from the New American Standard version.
When a wicked person dies, his expectation will perish,
And the hope of strong people perishes.
We can see connections to verse 4.
Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
And of course, there’s this one.
I don’t care too much for money,
Cause money can’t buy me love.
Ok, that’s Paul McCartney not Solomon, but the point is while wealth is ok in this life, it cannot be transferred to the next.
The godly person knows this but the ungodly will have a day of reckoning like he never imagined. Any hope placed in the things of this world dies when your life in this world ends.
It’s not just money. It’s power, status, rank, privilege, fame, and also wealth and fortune.
We have already discussed that it is just fine to have money and nice things. Neither money nor stuff are godly or ungodly. It is our relationship with money, power, rank, and privilege that defines whether we seek God and his kingdom or want to build our own.
Are we known by our love or our service or our wisdom? Are we known by our greed and self-centeredness?
The value of the things of this world in which we placed our hope expires when we do. Our bank accounts, our season tickets, our weekly spa treatments—even my Sexiest Man Alive awards mean nothing to me in eternity.
The Christian knows this. The ungodly have a big surprise in store for them, but not because they were not warned. They simply chose not to believe.
The Christian—or in Solomon’s time—the one seeking God, knows to store up treasure in heaven. It is the only truly insured investment.
The ungodly place false hopes in the things of this world, with money usually is near the top of their lists. God through Solomon said, that dog don’t hunt.
Does this counsel mean that we should die penniless without any accolades?
I will discuss the latter first. It is just fine to be noticed for our good deeds so long as they bring glory to God. If our hearts desire to build our own kingdom instead of seeking God’s kingdom, accolades and recognition and everything else that tempts our ego work against us.
But if we can receive the approval of those around us and refocus the human tendency to idolize on the goodness and mercy and grace of God, then bring on the accolades. They are just grist for the mill as we serve our Lord.
How do I know this? In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
What about dying penniless? I will jump ahead a couple chapters in the Proverbs to 13:22.
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children,
but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
You can be a godly person and leave an inheritance to your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The first and most important part of that inheritance is the gospel. It is delivered to them before we die.
But it’s also just fine to leave money and stuff and other treasures. We can’t take them with us and as followers of Christ Jesus, we know that.
It is the fool, the sinner, the wicked who is in store for a big surprise. They can’t take it with them and their wealth is stored up for the righteous. If you are the sinner who loses everything because you resisted God to the end, you know the theological term for what lies ahead: Bummer!
We are blessed to use our money, status, position, and other materially tangible things to promote the gospel and bring glory to God. We are blessed to enjoy the things of this world without serving them.
We have one God whom we know best through Christ Jesus and we serve him by loving and serving others. We have no other gods beside him or before him or even competing with him.
The only taste of heaven that the sinner will know without Christ’s redemption is what they placed their hopes in while living in this world, and all of their hope will end abruptly upon their death.
It’s good to live God’s way for the things of this world expire for us when we expire. We know that we are not forsaken. We know God has an inheritance for us. We know that we have treasure in heaven.
There is God’s way and there is everything else. Live God’s way.
God’s way—hallelujah and praise the Lord.