Mark 10:17- 31, Col 3:1-4
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (NIV)
Twenty five percent of Jesus' messages are about money. He knew all about money, that is why He called it “Mammon”. Setting your affection on mammon will blind you to the things of the Kingdom. What you do with your money will determine if you are preparing yourself for eternity (Christ appearing). There is a way that money can blind us when it comes to eternity. You cannot serve both - you have a choice. Some of you have heard me say this in the past: that “I am not afraid of poverty, I am afraid of being rich without God”. From Blessed to pain: Adventist pastor David Asscherick in his book “God in Pain”. I’ve also been challenged and inspired by his words, including this statement from his book "God in Pain:“Satan’s pleasure is not always your pain. In his subtlety, Satan can bring about prosperity, pleasure, and even peace to suit his larger, long-range purpose, namely, the final, eternal ruin of the soul. … “Satan will bless us if by blessing us he blinds us.” That’s powerful. The fact is, we can personally turn God’s blessings into curses by being distracted by them and focusing too much of our time and energy on His blessings instead of on Him, but satan also wants to ‘bless’ us—if it will blind us—and it often does. Don’t forget the blessings of Egypt that became the golden calf curse in the wilderness. How are your blessings affecting you? Put it in another way: How is your blessing affecting your relationship with God? Deut 8:12- 18 lest -- when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; ….. 17 then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' 18 "And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, ….”
This young ruler in our passage was blinded by his riches. Jesus said there is “only one thing you lack” (v21). This is how the pursuit of money can negate whatever you might be doing for the kingdom. This young rich ruler ticked all the boxes but one (in the area of possession). Jesus is not saying money in itself is wrong or evil. He is saying the use of your wealth should not revolve around you but you must hang onto it loosely and be willing to pass it on. He blesses you so that you can be a blessing. That is how you “will have treasure in heaven”. In Luke 12, Jesus was teaching about hypocrisy, the fear of God and confessing Him before men. All of a sudden, this man forces himself forward asking Jesus to arbitrate between himself and his brother. Apparently, this man must have switched off, not really listening to the peerless sermon of Jesus. Many today comes to Church but are not able to comprehend the messages but their minds are often fixated on all other things - Matt 6:33. Apparently this man must be the junior of the two children and wasn't happy with how the division of his father’s possessions went. According to Deu. 21:16-17 the elder takes two thirds, while the second in line takes one third, but as far as this guy was concerned, he was not pleased with the division. Now standing with the rest of the multitudes, listening to Christ’s peerless sermon but his mind was fixated on his father’s wealth and did not hear what Jesus was saying. Don’t think everyone who says “amen” to your preaching really got the message. This man was truly blinded by his father’s possessions. We live in a generation today where enough is never enough. If only I can get more is the unwritten desires. The more you get, the more you will hunger for more. Jesus is saying that there is only “one thing” that will put a bolt and lock you out of the kingdom of God – covetousness!
If you and I want to be worried about anything, you must worry about the kingdom of God - whether you are serving His purpose here or not. Riches can be deceitful and have a way of choking the word of life out of you. Matt 13:22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful”. When riches have accomplished its deception, they will make themselves wings and fly away. (Prov 23:5). I pray that you will set your priority right and seek God kingdom above all else and be a conduit of the blessings of God to others.
Your friend, Tony