Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Money was a common theme for Jesus. He often taught about how possessions prevented people from following God, and when you look around, it’s hard to argue with that. After all, do most people spend their time chasing after money, or chasing after God?
The young man in today’s story is a perfect example. He approached Jesus with the question of what deed he could perform that would gain him entrance to heaven. Because he was rich, he probably thought that anything Jesus told him, he could easily take care of by simply spending money on it.
The problem was that, in addition to the standard of loving God and loving others, Jesus added, “Sell your stuff and give the money to the poor.” Before you get the idea that Jesus has problems with people owning things, remember that Jesus only did this because He knew that this particular young man put his money first in his life.
I’ve known multi-millionaires who spend boatloads of money on charities and on the church. They see their wealth as including the responsibility of giving back to God and blessing others. I’ve also known people on public assistance who check their bank accounts five times a day. They see their money as theirs and theirs alone, and wouldn’t part with a penny of it for church or charity.
The amount of money you have doesn’t determine if it prevents you from following God. The amount of God you have in you determines what you do with your money. Be rich with God, and money will be no problem. Be stingy with God, and no matter if you’re rich or poor, your possessions will separate you from Him.
This week, pray about what God wants you to do with your time and money. Ask Him to show you ways (and how much) that He wants you to spend of both on Him and others.
Copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.