Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position [as a born-again believer, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God]; and the rich man is to glory in being humbled [by trials revealing human frailty, knowing true riches are found in the grace of God], for like the flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; its flower falls off and its beauty fades away; so too will the rich man, in the midst of his pursuits, fade away.
Following Jesus means living for eternity. We must understand that this means more than just looking forward to God’s eternal kingdom but accepting how that dictates the manner in which we live these temporary lives. Being proud in this world, looking out for number with the purpose of elevating one’s self above others, may lead to status and glory in this life. Humility leads to status and glory in eternity. God’s desire is for us to forgo the former for the latter, the lesser for the greater.
Of note in this passage is the second verse. When we find ourselves “making it” in this world and coming out on top, we are to desire to be humbled. This is a picture of a person of prominence needing to be reminded of the importance of being last. Worldly success has the power to distort our perspective and trick us into thinking that glory in this world is what matters. True glory, however, is what we will experience in eternity. We must be reminded of this regularly to maintain proper focus.
For every promise of God, the world offers a counterfeit version. There are fake security, false love, a dangerous imitation of freedom and temporary glory. When we are faced with these inadequate substitutes of God’s provision, we should desire to be reminded of the real assurances of God that they attempt to emulate. Father, keep us aware that the temporary is just that, and keep our eyes on your eternal promises, desiring what must be produced in us to receive them.