Chapter-a-Day Psalm 49
Those who are wise must finally die,
just like the foolish and senseless,
leaving all their wealth behind.
The grave is their eternal home,
where they will stay forever.
They may name their estates after themselves,
but their fame will not last.
They will die, just like animals.
This is the fate of fools,
though they are remembered as being wise.
Psalm 49:10-13 (NLT)
Can you quickly tell me anything about the following people?
- Mansa Musa
- Richard Fitzalan
- William de Warenne
- Alan Rufus
- Osman Khan
I’m pretty good at trivial knowledge, but these names were completely lost on me when I saw them. The truth is, these five men were among the richest men ever. While they lived they amassed vast fortunes to rival and even surpass names you do probably have heard of such as Rockefeller, Carnegie and Vanderbilt. I say that they were rich, because like everyone else, they died and left their fortunes behind. As the old saying goes, you’ll never see a hearse pulling a U-haul.
That is the point of this morning’s chapter. Jesus said that there will always be poor people around. I guess that means there will always be rich people around as well. Death is the great equalizer. Time and time again God reminds us not to invest our hearts and minds in material things which will rot, rust and be left behind when we die. The economy in God’s Kingdom bears little or no resemblance to the economy of this world. Citizens of God’s Kingdom invest in things of eternal value which all flow from Love: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
- Mansa Musa: rule of Malian empire, at one point he personally owned more than half the world’s supply of commodities.
- Richard Fitzalan: English nobleman.
- William de Warenne: Norman nobleman.
- Alan Rufus: fought next to William the Conqueror.
- Osman Khan: last ruler of Hyderabad. Owned a 184 carat diamond which he used as a paperweight.