It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. How great are your works, O LORD, how profound your thoughts!
The senseless man does not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be forever destroyed. But you, O LORD, are exalted forever. For surely your enemies, O LORD, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered. You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured upon me. My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
Having lived for years in a resort town where incomes are way above average and the display of material wealth is almost an obsession, I’ve concluded that man’s earthly perspective is one of his more serious problems. Created as an eternal being, he puts all his time and energy into the 70 years or so that begins with birth, virtually ignoring the endless span of his life that begins with death. And the sad fact is that if he took the time to think about it, he’d learn that one simple decision would change everything. Forever.
The world teaches us that we didn’t come from anywhere, our lives have no purpose, and we’re not going anywhere when they’re over. Best to get all we can while we can. We learn to envy those around us who’ve become “successful” and are living “the good life” because that’s all we know.
But the Bible teaches an eternal perspective. It tells us not to be so consumed with the things of this world, but “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” and the things we need to thrive here will be given us as well. (Matt. 6:33) It tells us not to focus on things that are seen, which are temporary, but on things that are unseen, which are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18) Its pages abound with warnings on the folly of the obsessive quest for wealth. (Luke 12:16-21 for example)
If obeyed faithfully, the Lord’s laws promise prosperity for all, (Deut. 15:4-5) but accumulating excessive wealth pretty much requires that they be violated. And an obsession with wealth for its own sake can be a short cut to the devil’s playground.
Our Creator has promised that we’ll live forever. If we focus our lives on seeking Him, He’ll make sure we live comfortably and securely here, and enjoy an eternity of unimaginable bliss when we go to be with Him. The other alternative is to strive and sweat and push and fight to get all we can on our own in the 70 years or so we’re here, and then spend eternity regretting that we didn’t choose plan A.
“Delight yourself in the Lord,” King David wrote, “And He’ll give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) To me that means that He’ll place in your heart those things He would have you desire, and then He’ll turn those desires into reality.
In other words, if you ask the One who created you to determine what it takes to make you happy instead of letting the advertising industry do it, and then let Him get it for you instead of trying to get it on your own, everything will work to your everlasting benefit, and you’ll just be along for the ride of your life. Your eternal life.