Matthew 19:16-30; Numbers 11-12; Ecclesiastes 8
What do I have? I mean, what do I have that’s really important? My house? My wealth? (Ok, in America I wouldn’t consider myself wealthy, but compared to the rest of the world, I’m fantastically wealthy.) If I were to approach God, what would I have that would be really important? A wealthy guy came to Jesus. With all of his wealth, he was still unsatisfied and pressed Jesus about eternal life. He claimed to have done everything that Jesus told him to do and asked Jesus what he was still missing. “Jesus said, ‘If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.’ But when the young man heard this, he went away saddened, because he had many possessions.” (Matthew 9:21-22) I don’t imagine this verse is preached by many of the so called prosperity preachers. That being said, it is not a command for everyone: this command was given to someone who trusted in his wealth, but was still unsatisfied. If Jesus had told him to sell half of what he had and give to the poor he would probably have declined that as well. This story teaches us that Jesus is concerned about those who are poor and need help. It also teaches us that Jesus is concerned about those whose wealth gets in the way of their relationship with God and need help. The key is that the only way to inherit eternal life is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. He paid the penalty for our sin on the cross. This rich man thought his relationship with God was wound up in his riches. In truth, we should use our wealth to help others. Does it mean selling everything we have and giving to the poor? Maybe. Does it mean using what God has given to us to help others? Always. Our call, as followers of Christ, is not self-enrichment. Our call is to care for others.
Lord, please remind me that nothing is as important as my relationship with You. Let me use whatever I possess to help others come to know You. Let me find ways to help lift people out of spiritual poverty into a relationship with You, even as You do the same for me. Let me use any material goods to help people in material poverty.