The journey to the end of ourselves – giving up OUR riches!
Parable of the Rich young Man
Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”
The man asked, “What in particular?”
Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?”
“If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”
That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.
As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.”
The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?”
Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
Matthew 19:16-26 The Message
What is Jesus’ point in this parable? Is He trying to warn us that “rich” people are probably not going to enter God’s kingdom? Maybe.
However, may I suggest that the deeper lesson for all of us is not “how much” each of us has, but how we allow it to control our living. Do we dwell on” money “ or “things” as if they are ours to have and to use for our own gain? Is acquiring “things” our goal in life? Is attaining wealth and status the center of our thoughts? Are we “saving” for retirement so we can sit around and focus on our own pleasures?
The scriptural lesson is one of “Whom” we allow and trust to be in charge of the resources God has blessed us with. Jesus complimented the young man on “behaving” in the correct manner. To be perfect, however, Jesus told him that he needed to give up the “right” to all that stuff by giving it to those in need and turning and following Him. The young man turned away crestfallen because he did not want to give up control of “his things”. He wanted to hang onto the resources he had and all that they represented to him instead of giving them to God.
Does the scripture mean that we should give away all our money and “things” today? Maybe.
Each of our paths is unique and individually God-tailored. You may be called to give all your assets away and move as a missionary to foreign lands. And maybe you are not. It may be that He has provided you with certain resources to enable you to reach a group of people that cannot be reached by others who have been called to foreign lands!
The point is that God wants us to relinquish to Him our perceived right to these resources AND then turn to Jesus and allow Him to use us and these resources to bring others to Him. Having resources is not the problem – the problem is “thinking” and “acting” as if they are ours and not Gods.
Remember, “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. Matthew 6:19-21 The Message
My prayer for us this week is that we examine our relationship with our resources and determine if we are in control of them or if we have fully turned them over to God. If we have not, may we seek Him to determine what path we should be taking trusting that He will provide us with all we need for our journey.