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The presence of wealth also brings many challenges. In this episode, we examine the Biblical account of the Rich Young Ruler found in Mark 10.
“17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
The rich young man clearly saw that Jesus was a good teacher. Jesus expressed to this young man what was written in the commandments of the Old Testament. The young man made it clear that he knows of these things, understands these things, and has upheld these things since he was a young child!
NOTICE in verse 21 t hat Jesus looked at him and loved him. What a look! It was not of a negative disposition, but one of clarity, gentleness and respect!
“Sell everything,” Jesus said, “and give to the poor!”
Selling everything is difficult, especially for a rich person. Why? Because many times, their trust is in their riches. There are multiple verses in the Word Of God that speak to man putting their “trust” in money/wealth/riches, just like this young man in the parable. “See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches” (Psalm 52:7, ESV).
This rich young man in the parable had such a love of wealth already in his young life that it exceeded his his devotion for God. “He became sad, for he was very rich.” It is not that he did not love God, but what was happening was that his love for his money, wealth and possessions outweighed his love for the Lord! This is the DILEMMA that wealthy people face. Their love for their comfortable life and the things of their life keep them from fully and whole-heartily following the Lord. This is a mental gymnastic exercise that the wealthy believer can go through!
The Difficulty of Riches
“23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
“Most Jews expected the rich to inherit eternal life, not because their wealth could buy their way in, but because their wealth testified to the blessing of the Lord on their lives. Jesus’ view is a different and more sober one. The proverbial saying refers to the absolutely impossible. It is important to note that the camel was the biggest animal in Palestine.” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary)
Exaggeration is clear here, but it totally speaks to the truth of the one that has great wealth. Wealth becomes a trust-factor and a barrier for the one that is considering bowing heart, head, and life to the Lord! They know that there will be some changes and potentially radical changes in how they live their lives, their use of the wealth in their care. It is “easier” for them to continue their lifestyle, their current way of trusting (in money) than to make a new King, a new Ruler, a new Trust-factor in their life. This is why Jesus said that is it harder for a rich man to enter heaven than a camel going through the eye of a needle (a sewing needle that is!).
“27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Jesus makes it clear that money, wealth and riches are not an impossibility for God to break through! Difficult for the person, yes! Easy for God, YES! There is a “silver lining” that Jesus speaks about for the one that choose to be obedient unto the calling and new-life that God is calling one to. The silver-lining is heavenly rewards! Choosing to relinquish money, wealth, possessions and even people to follow the Lord in His leading and teachings brings upon GREAT WEALTH!
Choosing to follow the Lord, and using what HE has put into your care for you to STEWARD (on His behalf) we see that this type of obedience brings about an AMAZING return on investment. ONE HUNDRED FOLD, in a combination of today and in eternity.
Wealth is a very, very real challenge, both for one coming to know the Lord, and for one following the Lord! The bottom line is if when one trusts in the Lord, they are FULLY trusting int the Lord! It is placing their ENTIRE TRUST in the Lord, not in wealth, money, or assets!
One word that sums up this story…LORDSHIP!
First, trusting Christ as one’s Lord and Savior. Second, allowing Christ to be LORD over all, including your money and assets!
He already is LORD over all your money, assets, and things. You just need to get your grabby hands off of it, and trust Him with it all!
The Rich Young Man wanted Jesus AND all his wealth. Jesus made it clear, as did the Rich Young Man in this parable that there is a very clear and obvious dilemma in the heart of the rich man, which brings about a difficulty in one trusting Christ.
At the Stewardology Podcast, our entire team, encourages you to not let your wealth be a barrier in your knowing Christ, and whole-heartedly living for him! If you have questions about this please feel free to reach out to us and we would be honored to have a conversation with you. Connect with us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call us on at (800) 688-5800 and ask for one of the Stewardology team members and we would count it a privilege to speak to you!
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