The Good Life?
Mighty God, by the Holy Spirit, breathe upon the spark of hope within me.
Consider: "If we make more than $50,000.00 a year, we are wealthier than 99% of the world" (David Platt). We need to rejoice in what we have received from God's hand (see 1 Chron. 29:14) and live as generous givers.
The young man is clear about what he wants (16)--perhaps that's why he was rich. He would have been the first to register for a "Ten Proven Tools for Achieving Eternal Life" seminar. However, as Jesus responds to yet another question, he poses an enigmatic question (17) and then reiterates classic Old Testament teaching (18-20; Exod. 20:12-16; Lev. 19:18). Not surprisingly, this offers no new help, so Jesus focuses on the central issue, his wealth (21). Life in the kingdom is never comfortable, as the man's response shows (22).
Jesus gives the disciples his own commentary. Wealth is an issue for all who have it (23). So much ink has been spilled in trying to explain the camel and the eye of the needle (24), yet surely it's just an example of hyperbole. Jesus illustrates an almost-impossible with an impossible. We may try to take comfort in thinking that we are not rich (although beware, wealth is relative) or from the fact that Jesus did not command all his followers to give away their wealth, but R.H. Gundry warns, "That Jesus did not command all his followers to sell all their possessions gives comfort only to the kind of people to whom he would issue that command."
Once again (10), the upside-down kingdom comes as a shock to the disciples. Is there hope for anyone, they ask (25)? Yes, absolutely! Salvation comes from God, not from what we do (26), and that changes everything. God will be in debt to no one (28-30), and what Matthew describes as a future reward is also placed in the present by Mark and Luke (Mark 10:30, Luke 18:30). What you have already received from God is an account for the future!
To this young man, wealth had become a consuming idol. That was why Jesus asked him to give his wealth away. Do you have a "consuming idol" that is holding you back from serving Jesus?
Lord God, forgive me that at times I am a halfhearted disciple, with one foot in the kingdom and the other in the world. Enable me to be a wholehearted disciple.
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