The Wealth Barrier
Loving Lord, I ask for patient endurance and steadfast trust, so I may walk with You today without hesitation.
Read MARK 10:17-31
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
The insatiable desire for more can consume us. We must submit to the Spirit’s control, commit to him our addictive behavior, and ask for his supernatural strength.
Although young, the unnamed seeker in today’s passage was a “ruler” (Matt. 19:20; Luke 18:18). Despite great wealth, he was spiritually aware, anxious to prepare for the life to come. “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” was not for him. He was serious. In his culture it was undignified for men of substance to run, yet run he did, so eager was he to get an answer to his question. For a wealthy person to bow before a teacher was a mark of unusual respect. This enquirer was also sincere, genuinely attempting to keep God’s commandments. The question–“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”–was honest, unlike when put by another on a different occasion (Luke 10:25). If he arrived at our churches today, surely we would welcome him with open arms.
Jesus raises two questions. The first is about the man’s understanding of the law. Did he know what he was saying when he claimed to keep all the commandments (20)? Hardly. “No one is good, except God alone” (18). What the young man regarded as spiritual success was, in fact, failure. Jesus proves by this by challenging him to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength (12:30).
Next, Jesus tests the depth of the questioner’s desire for eternal life: “Go, sell everything … give to the poor … follow me” (21). This is not a general rule but a personal test for this individual who tragically fails to meet it. Jesus’ subsequent comments startle the twelve who may have had a fondness for “the prosperity gospel” (24-26). However, he assures us that God can enable us to do what we find impossible, and part with whatever hinders us from entering the Kingdom (27).
What do you find difficult to give up in order to follow Jesus more closely? Pray for any help you need.
Lord Jesus, I need to take up my cross daily as I seek to follow You. Help me to set aside those things that hamper my full obedience to You.
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