Mark 10: 17-22 (NIV) As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”…. Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
One thing that was common in Jesus’ ministry is that different people approached him with all kinds of questions—and He responded to them according to the genuineness of their intentions. This time He is approached by a wealthy man with an age-old question. What does it take for one to enter the kingdom of God? There is something striking about this encounter. Jesus’ loving eyes see something wrong with this man. Although he has been keeping the law religiously, his heart is tied to his wealth. His wealth is effectively the god that he is serving.
Many years ago, as college students, we went for a retreat where a missionary was one of the speakers. I cannot remember much of what he said but he made a comment about money that went—more or less—like this, “you should always look at money as if it is stones.” I think what he meant was that we should not let our hearts get carried away with the love of money. But since we considered him and other missionaries more financially privileged than us, we never took his comment seriously.
Our sentiments towards the missionary notwithstanding, the Bible severally warns about the temptations of money. Pastoral leaders should not yield to the temptation of serving God as a means to get rich (1 Tim. 6:5). Those who try to follow Christ but remain attached to the pursuit of wealth and worldly pleasures get choked and are unfruitful (Matt. 13:22). Money can be an object of worship. We are warned that we cannot serve both God and money (Matt. 6:24). And the love of money is the root of all evils (1 Tim. 6:10).
So, what is it about money that makes many people feel that they do not need God? Truth is that money is not neutral. That is why we need to be intentional about how we relate to it and use it. All of us have something or someone our hearts are attached to. Unless we deal with that, we cannot truly follow Christ. Wealth and affluence are some of the gods of this age. What issue of your heart would you have Christ deal with as you follow Him? As followers of Jesus Christ we can have a healthy mindset towards money and wealth. We should not serve God for money but rather we should serve Him with all He has given us, including money, for His glory.
Lord Jesus, would you reveal to me the idols in my heart that could easily distract me from following you. In Your name I pray. Amen.