By Elizabeth Prata
The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him. (Proverbs 28:11).
I couldn’t help but stop and ponder this. I thought of the Rich Young Ruler of Mark 10:17-27. He asked Jesus as the “Good Teacher” what must he do to be saved, who thought that he had perfectly kept the first commandments, but refused to give up his money, “for he had much property”.
The MacArthur Study Bible says that this verse contrasts the discerning poor with the rich man, who is deceived by his self-confidence. Riches are not always possessed by the unrighteous and wisdom by the poor, but more often than not, his is the case due to the blinding nature of wealth.
The Rich Young Ruler was wise in his own eyes, thinking that his property and wealth would comfort him to the end. But in the end there is only Jesus and one’s sin. Your property is gone. Your wealth is gone. There is only yo, and your soul, and the Lord of our souls, Jesus. How had one dealt with one’s sin? Repentance and seeing it thrown into the Lake of Fire? Or had one clutched tightly to one’s sin and now it AND your soul will be thrown into the Lake of Fire?
I think of a certain old man, whose entire life had been a fervent and focused accumulation of money. The money enabled him to buy things, and he delighted in having these things. He loved having them first in the neighborhood. He gloated over having the largest and the best. He loved work but he loved work because it brought him money and the money brought him things. But in the last seconds of his earthly existence he lay on a hot pavement, dying, and even as his body stilled and drained of life the next second his soul was cast into the even hotter regions of the universe, for he had many things, but no faith. Faith is the only thing that lasts, and it is the only thing that brings you to the feet of Jesus, the safest and best place in the universe.
The pursuit of things took his eyes away from God’s creation where He has revealed himself, and to the casting away of the Gospel when it was offered. Keep your eyes on Jesus, whether or not you have wealth. But if you do have wealth, don’t let self-confidence mar your vision of the only thing you need: The Gospel.