Hovering over the story of the rich young guy who came to Jesus in order to complete his portfolio. He already had “great possessions” (Mk. 10:22b), but wanted to know how to invest wisely so as to “inherit eternal life” (Mk. 10:17b).
But the counsel he received from Jesus “disheartened” him. It made him sad. Eternal life was going to require too much of his temporal goods.
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.”
(Mark 10:21 ESV)
After the young man walks away, Jesus seizes the encounter as a teachable moment for His followers.
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!”
(Mark 10:24 ESV)
To walk away from that which is seen for that which is unseen is difficult. To trade what’s in the bank today for treasures in heaven tomorrow is really hard. It so goes against our grain that Jesus’s disciples couldn’t help but ask, “Then who can be saved?” But praise God! “For all things are possible with God” (Mk. 10:26-27).
And while I’m no rich young man compared to others (not rich, nor so young), I do have a few possessions, a comfortable balance in the bank account and, compared to many others on this terrestrial ball, I camp on the wealthier side of the scale. And, by God’s grace, as I look back, I always have.
So, do I sit here this morning and thank God that, because He is able to do all things, this camel got through the eye of the needle (Mk. 10:25)? For sure! For I have entered the kingdom of God despite my material privilege. To God be the glory!
But something we talked about in our men’s study last night has me thinking this morning. Last night we talked about Jesus calling those who would embrace the kingdom He taught of, to “enter by the narrow gate.” And to keep entering, remaining in the way and resisting the allure of the way which is wide and easy but leads to destruction (Mt. 7:13-14). And if that’s true, the need to keep entering, then is it also true that it continues to be difficult for those who have wealth to keep on wanting to pursue and enter more deeply into the ways of the kingdom? I’m thinkin’ . . .
The more I seek first the kingdom, the more I need to be prepared to loosen my grip on the ways of this world. The deeper I desire the way of the cross, the more it’s going to cost. The more I want to store up treasures in eternity, the more I may have to let go of in this moment. Even though “I’m in”, I still need to be willing to give it all away.
Difficult? Yup. Really hard? Could be. Disheartened? No, but also not taking it lightly. Up for the trek of continuing to enter, deeper and deeper, into the economy of the kingdom of heaven? Not in my own power — but with God all things are possible.
Because of grace. For His glory.