Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rich Young Ruler

Luke 18:18 And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 19 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'" 21 And he said, "All these I have kept from my youth." 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

The Church today "sells" a Gospel that is easy to believe. It is difficult to back the up with Scripture since Jesus right here gives this rich young man a hurdle he doesn't want to jump over.

If Jesus were trying to call every single person to Himself, for sure He could do it. But that is not His aim. He knows the hearts of man and this young man is no exception. Jesus cuts right to the chase when He asks him to leave everything.

The pride of life, knowing that you have "all you need" and you have made it this far, so why should you not be able to make it to the end, increasing all the while, is what damns so many to Hell.

Earthly wealth is not something to trifle with. We are to be profitable in our endeavors, but not for the sake of our souls. We are to try to make as much money as is reasonable for what we do, but it is what we do with that money that is most important.

If we are trying to make loads of money to stack our own portfolios, take lavish trips, provide for ourselves way beyond what we need, then this is the wrong direction. I am convicted about how much I have. God has given us so much more than we need, and I need to be a better steward of what He brings.

Jesus is telling this young man, to be generous and give it all away, I think because Jesus knew He wouldn't do it. This is a heart and motive check. God won't necessarily ask us all to give everything away, unless He knows we are not willing. I believe this is a Lordship issue. Who's money is it anyway?

When the young man "Went away very sad", he had no idea how sad he would really be. Money is such a "distracter". Money can pollute our souls so quickly. It is not the money that is evil, but the love and desire to have more and more.

J. Piper said something interesting, and I paraphrase; After having food and clothing provided for us, having more money and more things does NOT add to our happiness, but it almost always makes us less happy. As one having more money than I have needed, which I think that most Americans would have to say they have more than they need, I think this is true. Some of the very happiest times in my life has been when we have had the least amount of money, but had food and clothing.

There has never been a more joy filled person on earth than when God came to live with us in human form. Jesus didn't have a home or a bed, He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, but He also could see the joy that was set before Him and so He could be joyful, even in His sufferings, because He knew what we to come.

Is my life marked by delayed gratification? What if for the balance of my life I am not to have any possessions? Would I be alright with that? See the next post for what our answer should be.

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