The Pricelessness of Every Person You’ll Ever Meet

Poverty and Wealth

A sermon idea based on Psalm 49:1-12.

Psalm 49:1-12 NRSV
[1] Hear this, all you peoples;
give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
[2] both low and high,
rich and poor together.
[3] My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
[4] I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.
[5] Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
[6] those who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?
[7] Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,
there is no price one can give to God for it.
[8] For the ransom of life is costly,
and can never suffice,
[9] that one should live on forever
and never see the grave.
[10] When we look at the wise, they die;
fool and dolt perish together and leave their wealth to others.
[11] Their graves are their homes forever,
their dwelling places to all generations,
though they named lands their own.
[12] Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;
they are like the animals that perish.

Angle

The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…

The world will always divide us into classes, and sometimes we even believe the labels ourselves, but from the perspective of our eternal Creator, we’re all equally priceless.

Anchor

Information about the text that matters to the message…

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There are three significant messages in this psalm.

First, the world measures us in superficial ways. The labels “rich” and “poor” are classifications, as though the worth of a human being is tied directly to their financial wealth. One of the best decisions we can make for ourselves is to peel off the labels others place on us. Never believe that money makes you matter more, and never believe you’re worth less than others because you struggle through poverty.

Second, wealth is no source of true confidence. Some of us have fallen into the trap of believing the labels. The rich often believe they have significance and security in their accumulated power and possessions. And the Bible gives plenty of warning against this particular mistake.

Third, God is willing to act to show us the priceless nature of our lives. The psalmist, somewhat prophetically, proclaims that God will pay the ransom to rescue people from Sheol (death, the grave).

Application

The big call-to-action in the message…

Redefine your worth and value, not on the terms the world assigns, but on the basis of how God sees you because he sent his very Son to show us our value.


Frith, William Powell, 1819-1909. Poverty and Wealth, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

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