Devotional #35 "How to be rich in one 'easy' lesson"
16. And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?"
17. And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
18. Then he *said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS;
19. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
20. The young man *said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?"
21. Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
22. But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.
23. And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
I have always been intrigued by this particular event in the life of Jesus. I mean, here was a man who went to Jesus for advise and obviously knew at least something of the truth about him because he called Him "teacher". And by calling Him teacher, the man must have been at least somewhat acquainted with His teaching. He was also obviously a good man because he admitted to Jesus that he had kept all of the commandments (I'm sure to the best of his ability), but he still had a problem. He was still unsure about whether or not he could obtain eternal life but he was sure that Jesus held the answer for him. And so He did.
Jesus told the man to go and sell his stuff, give the money to the poor and then follow Him. This advise was enough to send the man away in tears. Why? Because he was a very rich man and it was his earthly possesions that his heart loved the best. While it was true that he loved God, he also managed to love his stuff even more. Is this possible? Yes, I would say it is because I have been guilty of doing the same thing myself quite often. Although I would never go so far as to say that I've ever been "rich", I know that I have put money and things before my love and devotion to God. In other words, God wasn't at the center of my heart.
I have come to the realization that I will probably never be rich in the way that the world understands the word. I will probably always have to work in a shop or blue collar job because of my level of education and because of some of the choices I made early in life. However, I am beginning to learn just how to trully be rich. I've taken my lesson from the man in this story. It isn't always easy but slowly my heart is turning towards God instead of stuff. Oh I know I love God, and I know He knows it too, but does He REALLY get the no. 1 spot in my heart? Sadly, not always. But I am learning to put Him first. How am I doing this? Very simple...I refuse to walk away grieving when Jesus says "Follow me!". I know that I am not perfect and that I have a long way to go, but even so I am still determined to follow Jesus. He is indeed a teacher because he is showing me how his love and his grace will make me trully rich. And he does understand that I'm a slow learner, perhaps we all are, but he is as patient as he is kind and makes allowances for that. But he is persistant in teaching me this lesson of the heart because it is so important. The key for me is that I must also be persistant and never give up or walk away.
What does it mean to trully be rich? To have the love of Christ in our hearts completely.
Oh Lord, when I say that I love you I know that sometimes I might be putting earthly things ahead of you. This is a purely human fault and it is one that you are well aware of I am sure. Please forgive me for this and please always help me to just keep on following you; to never give up completely and just walk away. You are my teacher and certainly my savior...teaching me to love you through loving others and saving me from the things that would distract me away from you. Thank you Dear Lord for everything you do for me.