Here in Scotland, a rock mansion was built in 1790, complete with ornate stone gateposts.
After he inherited it, owner James Douglas Fletcher spent an enormous amount of his wealth creating “a mansion to supersede all others.” Rosehaugh premiered as an elaborate four-square, three-story, 60-room showplace of unbelievable opulence, built with the finest construction materials, and filled with valuable furnishings from around the world. The mansion to supersede all others was completed in 1893. A mere 66 years later, the mansion was demolished. Today, 121 years later, all that remains of Rosehaugh are two ornate stone gateposts leading to nowhere.
That’s a good warning to us. We build our lives every day. Are we building something permanent that will remain when we leave this earth, or are we building grand and eloquent gateposts to nothing?
It is not wrong for Christians to have and to spend money. The Bible encourages us to work. It promises that in all labor there is profit. It tells us to work with all our might. It affirms the right of Christians to get paid for working. “He who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope…the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.” (1 Cor. 9:10-14)
If we work and are rewarded financially with a good income, we should have the freedom to spend what is left after God’s tithe on whatever will benefit us in this life so we can continue to be productive. But how wide is the gap between what we really need and what we build? Are we building to impress others, or building gateposts in Heaven?
Once I lived under a bridge in the back of a pickup truck, painting signs for meals and washing myself and my clothes in the river – even on the coldest days of winter. I had little, but I had everything I needed.
Once I lived in an open-ended garden center. I had no bathroom facilities, no kitchen facilities, no air conditioning in the 100-plus degree summers and very little heat on the 16-degree winter days. I took showers with the cold water in the garden hose and slept on a lawn chair mattress on top of three wooden planks. Toads, birds, a wild cat, and other critters came in and out to visit. I had everything I needed. I had Jesus.
I’ve been without things that most people view as necessities, but I’ve never been poor.
“The blessing of the LORD, it makes rich.” Proverbs 10:22.
Jesus encouraged, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20, 21)
As commanding as it was in its time, Rosehaugh is gone. Two stone gateposts stand as reminders that not even an enormous amount of wealth spent on things in this world can secure them or make them permanent.
Jesus is the only foundation for eternal life. Living for Him is just as possible under a bridge or in a derelict half-shell of a building as it is in a palace or grandiose showplace like Rosehaugh.
Jesus was born in a stable. His first visitors were poor shepherds, hated and despised by the wealthy. We have a God that cannot be bought or sold for money; One Who only accepts the freewill offering of our hearts.