The two men decided to settle in a swampy suburb in the smooth sod which skirted a stunning sierra. And the soil in their section of the state was often saturated because of the streams of rain which ran down the sides of the nearby mountains. But neither man could think of an eligible excuse to emigrate, so they nestled in. One of the men toiled for years building a mansion at the base of the mountain, while the other fellow kept to himself in a shabby shack. And the seemingly wealthy mansion-builder often scoffed with disdain at the man who was apparently poor; he lived in a rotting cottage, while the rich man would soon be living in a palace-like home with every convenience and luxury one could ever dream of.
And one dismal day, a devastating downpour deluged them both, demolishing both the mansion and the cottage. After the storm subsided, the rich man was humbled by the instant robbery of his wealth and mansion, and murmured to the poor man, “It’s too bad for both of us, eh? We are both homeless now.” The poor man then cried out, “Not so! For while you have been building a mansion in this cursed place, I spent all my money hiring builders to prepare me a mansion in a yonder country where the weather is always fair.” And the “poor” man bid him farewell, leaving the “rich” man in the heap of his own ruins.
This story is far more than a fable—it is a fact. According to the Scripture, a storm of judgment is coming that will sweep away all earthly riches, exposing once and for all who is truly rich and truly poor. The Bible says, “For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits” (James 1:11). In light of this, the truly rich person is one who is “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21). Rich indeed is he who lays up treasure in heaven, and who is wealthy in wisdom, faith, love, hope, and faithfulness (Luke 12:21; Matt. 6:19-21).
On the other hand, the truly poor person spends all of their lives living in luxury, not caring at all about the “immeasurable riches” of God’s grace (Eph. 2:7). Poor indeed is he whose wallet is full, but whose soul is empty of salvation! Thus, you may be rich in this life and poor before God if you spend all of your wealth in this cursed place. However, you may be poor in this life but rich before God if you have faith in Christ and live faithfully, sending all of your “wealth” ahead to heaven’s better country (Heb. 11:16). Sometimes, the rich are poor and the poor are rich. Which are you?
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).
For more devotional entries like this, check out Brandon’s latest book, Bible Gleanings Volume II, which features 100 daily devotionals gleaned from God’s word: