"He who dies with the most toys wins." This quote was attributed to flamboyant millionaire Malcom Forbes in the 1980s.
You can't take it with you." In stark contrast Jesus taught in the story of the Rich Young Ruler in Mt 19:16-26.
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
While it was clear no big ol' hairy humped desert beast could pass through an eye of any needle, the 'eye of the needle' Jesus refered to was a small gate in Jerusalem where a camel could only pass through if it stooped and had its baggage removed. Not impossible but difficult, and the camel could take it (anything) with him.
Now I should be safe from being convicted by the teaching of the rich young ruler as I grew up in a lower middle class home and my 'wealth' since then is barely a blip on any money radar. BUT.. Wealth is a relative commodity, and I believe there is a lesson here for all of us.
ME ME ME ME FIRST!
I may not have wealth, but.. I am convicted there are things that keeps me from really following Jesus? How about you?
Maybe our toys, hobbies, sports, friends, family (yes family), or simply maintaining my comfort keeps me from being ALL IN FOR JESUS?
I desire to put God first.. but there is a lot of ME in me. I like, I want, I slip up, and am afraid of messing, and/or give up my time to serve Him..
SO I KNOW.. whether a 'Rich Man' or a 'Poor Man' it is clear to me we daily need to say to God I am yours. This pursuit of Him is through prayer, Bible (God's word), fellowship, and an intentional effort to serve Him in big or small, whether rich or poor, in sickness and in health (like a marriage vow).. all to the Glory of God.
My prayer is all of the RICH and POOR folk of God be faithful in the lives we live and the resources we are blessed with. May we all be about the business of sharing Jesus to a world that is lost as 'One body, many parts'.. God bless y'all!
Jeff (relatively poor and content) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson