Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
“Which ones?” the man inquired.
Jesus replied, “ ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:16-24
From the above passage, here are a couple of points about the man that are worthy of review:
- The man who approached Jesus by his own words was a devout man who kept the commands of God.
- Wealth in that day and time (and still by many today) was viewed as the blessing of God and approval from Him on a person’s life.
- Despite being wealthy and devout, the man still felt like he was lacking something in the sight of God, which is why he approached Jesus, to find out what that something was.
Jesus tells him to sell everything and give it to the poor and to follow Him. Wow. Now that takes some courage. For me this is a reminder not to get too attached to anything in this world but to always have the spirit that says, “it’s yours anyway, God, and I’ll do whatever You want me to do with it.” This isn’t always easy to do, but this is the attitude that God wishes us to have: the attitude of total submission.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36, 37
Some people get distracted in the pursuit of “prosperity” and the pursuit of earthly things. It saddens me when I hear those who bear the name “Christian” to forget Christ’s words this way and advocate that God’s will is found in prosperity. It is true that it often does delight God to bless us. But the path of blessing and prosperity is not always the path that He has for us.
“Looking at his disciples, he said:
‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” Luke 6:20-26
People who preach prosperity tend to forget and leave out the places in the Bible that say that as followers of Christ we may very well see tough times. As a matter of fact, I would say that true followers of Christ will face difficulty and hardships, some more than others, and it is in these times, when we should cling to our faith, when we should cling to Christ.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
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