Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Money

Read Luke 10:17-31

The Rich Young Man
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult 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 person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Reflection

Money. I find that I spend a lot of time every day thinking about money. I’d like to think it’s because I’m in the Financial Services Industry, helping people accumulate some sort of “wealth” in their 401k plans to get them through their retirement years. But self admittedly, I spend a lot of time weekly thinking about our own financial situation…mid 30’s, mortgage, car payment, college savings for 3 kids, retirement savings, my PG&E bill that still is through the roof no matter how much I turn down the heat and obsess about turning off the lights. Let’s not forget the laundry list of things that I want to do to my house that require, well, more money. The list goes on and on. So, what would it feel like to have wealth? This is a question that I asked other “thirty-somethings”, Christians and Non-Christians alike…and the answers were fascinating.
What would wealth offer in their opinion? Freedom. Relief. Choice. Power. Happiness. Confidence. Stability. Security. Possibility. To be honest, I can’t say that I would feel much different if I won the lottery tomorrow.
Every time I have read this part of Mark, I have thought to myself, “Of course I would sacrifice everything if God requested it of me”, or “I would never consider money as a God”. But this time, something hit me. It’s not just wealth that God seems to be warning us about here, but the pursuit of wealth. Isn’t that what affects the majority of us day to day? It’s a slippery slope…because if, in fact, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” (Annie Dillard), then what will our lives reveal about us if we spend time most days obsessing about our bank account balances? For how many of us does the pursuit of wealth rival our pursuit of God?
The danger comes in the scenario that we see in Mark… that earthly wealth would become as important, (or more important), than our salvation. We see it with the man who approached Jesus. He was unable to give up his wealth for his salvation. Period. The irony is that the security he received from his wealth, pales in comparison to the power, happiness, confidence, stability, security and possibility that we receive in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. The truth is, we can’t do it without God. Any of it. Whether we have wealth, or are just trying to make ends meet, the bottom line is that if we put our faith in ourselves (or our money), we cannot be saved. With God though, all things are possible. (Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.)
So my commitment is this… Every time I find myself thinking about my personal “wealth”, I’m just going to pray. Pray for guidance. Pray for discernment. Pray that God will help me put it all in His hands. After all, our true wealth lies in the One that sacrificed everything for us, so that we can spend eternity in His embrace.

Response
1. Do you find that money consumes your thought process? Do you find it difficult to give your
money concerns to God? What financial pressures might you bring to prayer today?
2. Do you have a healthy perspective on your money? Do you use it to accomplish your call in
this life, or does it control you? Do you have wise people in your life who can help you think
through these questions?

2 comments:

cr102084 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cr102084 said...

Great insights here and surely a tough topic in the Christian life.

-Chris Reynolds