Week of Oct. 14
The Eye of the Needle
How has your financial status, whether strong or weak, affected your faith?
Read Matthew 19:16-30 In this passage, the man who approaches Jesus was wealthy and powerful. He was religious, yet he had not experienced the inner peace that comes from knowing Christ. He was restless. He was discontented. So the man asks Jesus how to find eternal life. "Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?'" (Matthew 19:16).
With the question, the man was hoping to be able to find out how to earn or buy his way into heaven. What he was really asking was, "How much will it cost me?" He wanted to know if there was some secret formula to eternal life.
Jesus responded, "Why do you ask me about what is good?...There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments" (Matthew 19:17). The man claimed he followed all the required commandments. Then he asked Jesus, "What do I still lack?" (Matthew 19:20).
This time, the man received an answer he could not follow. "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.' When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth" (Matthew 19:21-22).
Even though the man had convinced himself he was perfect, he was a sinner. This man thought he was living a life for God, but in reality it was his money that he worshiped.
Jesus warned, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:23-24). Jesus was not saying money itself prohibits us from entering heaven. He is saying that money can so easily become our god that we never really truly follow Christ.
The rich man had allowed his wealth to create a false sense of security and self-sufficiency. He allowed his wealth to create a false sense of attachment to this world and that he had God's favor. He relied on his money more than on God. He thought he was in control of his life.
The Bible tells us to live differently from that rich ruler. Paul told Timothy, "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Timothy 6:17).
When we focus too much on our earthly resources, we easily become tied to those things. Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).
This young ruler was entrenched in a mentality that fostered greed and selfishness. He probably thought he could make a sizable donation and buy his way into heaven. Yet Jesus is saying this attitude was wrong. Jesus was saying that no one can come to God the Father through his or her own efforts. No amount of good deeds, carefully-followed rules, or financial offerings can gain a person's salvation. Only when we approach God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son can we spend eternity with Him. "Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).
Only God can change a sinful heart. Only God's grace can change a person's destiny from eternal torment to eternal bliss. No matter our financial situation, we can only come to God through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on Calvary.
Is money your god? Or is it some other earthly distraction? Seek God's forgiveness for the idols you have created. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you put God first in your life.
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Matthew 6:24
The circumstances of life do not have to get you down. Learn how you can turn negative situations into ones of hope and promise in our free resource this month—"When Life Gets You Down, Look Up!" Download it today.
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