Todays readings.. 1 Kings 10, Jeremiah 36, Mark 10
A verse in Mark Chapter 10, today’s reading, says how “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” [v.23] It set us thinking as to what constitutes wealth today? There would be different answers in different countries!
The young man to whom Jesus said this “had great possessions” [v.22]. The previous verse told us, “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him” Why did Jesus love him? Well, firstly Jesus sees more than the outside appearance! We read that he “ran up and knelt before him”[v.17]; running indicates his eagerness, kneeling, his submissiveness.
In the conversation that followed about the commandments of God he replied, “Teacher all these I have kept from my youth “[v.20]. But the young man had “great possessions” and he went away “sorrowful” when told to “sell all that you have”. Does this mean that if you have few or no possessions and no money in the bank you are going to be in the kingdom of God? Of course not!
James, in his epistle, writes, “Listen my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom” [2 v.5. This is the heart of the matter – “rich in faith” – and James then writes (v.14-17) describing how we show our faith by how Christ-like we become and in what we do with our lives.
Now back to that challenging question – what constitutes wealth today? We live in a vastly different world to the First Century. The great majority have forms of “wealth” which attract them to occupy their minds in spiritually unproductive ways day after day.
Jesus invited the young man to “come follow me” after he had disposed of his wealth. There is a idea, that cannot be proved, but is interesting; that the young man did end up following Jesus; he is the one who “sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles feet” [Acts 4 v.37]. Let us put the “wealth” of the things that attract and distract us today to one side – where possible – using it in spiritual ways – and lay up “treasure in heaven.”
That does not mean we will go to heaven for obtain our “treasure” but, as the last chapter in the Bible reveals the final words of Jesus “”Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” [v.12]. They will at last eat of “the tree of life” [v.19]
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