“For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.”–Psalm 49:17
I love listening to my mother, Daisy, engaging in conversation. She is the master of colloquial phrases. A southern woman raised in the 1950s, Daisy has a wisdom all her own. Her colloquialisms are jargonized but flavored with truths from the Bible. Some of her most commonly used phrases are “There he goes talking all about tomorrow today.” “Pray you live long enough to see your future.” “Don’t let your eyes get you in trouble.”
The first and second phrases are reserved for her brother, William, who haphazardly makes plans for tomorrow and never lives for today. The last phrase is for people Daisy believes are being led astray by temptation or greed. Another one of my personal favorite phrases relates to her understanding of money.
Daisy is responsible with money but loves to treat herself (and her children) every now and then. Once she decides on her splurge item, she declares: “You can’t take it with you.” Unlike me, my mother does not use this statement to justify overspending. Instead she uses the phrase as an affirmation to teach her children the core value that enjoying the small things in life holds more value than money.
Psalm 49:17 (NLT) reminds us that when death comes, nothing can be taken. Wealth will not follow us into the grave. Having lots of money is great, but the psalmist reminds us that money will not last past this life. It does not go with us.
The psalmists also helps us keep life in perspective by directing our focus on what is good and what is best. He reminds us that there is much richness in beyond financial wealth. Like Daisy, the psalmist might say: “You can’t take it with you,” so when faced with the dilemma of choosing money or enjoying the little things, it is good and right sometimes to choose the little things.
Angela Fields is a writer and an ordained minister. She is the author of I’m Perfectly Different, a book for children. Angela is a graduate of the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia and loves seafood, shopping, and a great pair of shoes.