I recently read a blog post from Watching for the Morning that caught my attention. The pastor was writing about the story of the rich young man that came to Jesus and asked Him what he needed to do for eternal life. [Mark 10:17-31] Sadly, the rich man walks away– unable or unwilling to give up his riches. In his blog, the pastor writes:
What do I have to walk away from in order to walk into the realm of the Spirit? My wealth? My anger? My bitterness? My sorrow?
It is easy, when reading the Bible, (and just as it is in our daily life) to read about someone making a decision and then judging them. We think “I would have done this differently”, or just shake our heads, or worse–not think about them at all. Reading the story of the rich young man, we may be tempted to think “He just couldn’t part with his money.” That may be true. But also think about what else he would be parting with: His home. His many possessions. His livelihood. His inheritance. His security. Maybe even his family. He would be giving up everything. Can we blame him? Especially when we as Christians, have been told to place “our affection/minds on things above, not on things of the earth?” (Col. 3:2)
We all like money. I don’t think there is one person who can say that they don’t like money. Money can do many things. It certainly seems to bring temporary happiness, security, food, nice clothes…etc. But problems to not come from liking money, it comes from loving money. (And you do not have to have any money to love it!) And if we were to be honest, I think we all struggle with loving money in our lives–not just the rich young man.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (I Timothy 6:10)
How do we know when we have crossed the line between liking money and loving money?
- Am I actively pursuing …”righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness & gentleness?” [I Timothy 6:10] Am I full of discontent or am I content to not pursue these things? If I am not pursuing God [and His attributes] then what am I pursuing? Is it a “comfortable lifestyle” or a “nice car” or “‘well-deserved vacations?”‘
- Have I set my hopes on “the uncertainty of riches” instead of trusting God to provide? [ I Timothy 6:17]
a.) Am I trusting in myself or other’s abilities to provide? (I am not speaking about not attempting to work as you are able and/or permanently waiting for handouts–God speaks many times in the Bible about being an industrious worker. ( II Thess. 3:8, Prov. 6:6 )
b.) Am I humble enough to pray for my needs? God wants us to pray every day for our needs and acknowledge that He alone gives us–everything. (I Timothy 6:17, Luke 11:3, James 1:17)
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Consider the birds of the air. God feeds them, and they have enough. And in return, they sing.
Further reading: Proverbs 28:25, Matthew 6:24