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hope for churches in stress


One uncomfortable aspect of life together is comparisons.

In response to this common human problem, a biblical songwriter makes a bold promise: “My mouth shall speak wisdom . . . (Ps. 49:1-3).”

With two basic comparisons—rich and poor, wise and foolish—the songwriter warns: riches will all disappear when we die; make wise choices now (Ps. 49:5-20).

Think about ways we can be rich. With or without financial resources, we can be rich in family, friends, health, ability, and opportunity (to name a few).

When we consider ways we are rich, we are wise to look up. Every advantage comes from God (Deut. 8:17-18). It is good to humbly thank God and to use our assets, whatever they are, to serve God and others (2 Cor. 9:8).

Whether we feel rich or poor, we are wise to look ahead. Earthly riches have a limited warranty; at best, they only last a lifetime. Far more important than present wealth or want, is to live forever (Ps. 49:7-9; Mk. 10:45; 2 Tim. 2:5-6).

When we are in some way poor, we are wise to look within. “But whatever gain I had,” Paul writes, “I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. . .“ (Phil. 3:7-14; Ps. 73:23-26).

To be wise, set aside comparisons. Look up, look ahead, look within—to Jesus.

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