Many times, Jesus addressed the obsession, greed and sin of pursuing material assets and the love of money. One Bible story in particular that my wife and I often talk about regarding this important topic is that of the Rich Young Ruler (Luke 18:18-30).
This story is included in SIU”s “Discipleship/Obedience” story collection, which is used for training our indigenous partners in evangelizing and discipling unreached people groups through Bible storytelling.
The story ends with a challenge from Jesus to the rich young ruler:
22 When Jesus heard this, he told him, “You still need to do one thing. Sell everything you have and give the money to the destitute, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me.” 23 But when the official heard this he became sad, because he was very rich. 24 So when Jesus saw how sad he was, he said, “How hard it is for rich people to get into the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into the kingdom of God.”
“He became sad because he was very rich.”
That one simple phrase is something my wife and I frequently remind ourselves of, whenever we have a desire to treat ourselves to an unwarranted, selfish need—or as we call it, an “urge to splurge”—especially when we should be focusing on serving and giving to others.
And then our Lord and Savior reminds us how hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God. This is as true today as it was when the disciples first heard it from Jesus over 2,000 years ago.
So where are you storing up your treasures?
I hope it’s “where moth and rust don’t destroy,” as Jesus states in Matthew 6:19-20:
19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
To be honest with you, I know that while I’m here on earth, in this weak, fragile, broken body and state of mind, I often struggle with adhering to our Lord’s commandment regarding earthly vs. heavenly treasure. It’s only through His Holy Spirit living within me that I am able to deny myself, and be able to live with an eternal perspective and focus on “dying to self” each and every day. This is just one of the many blessings of being a follower of Jesus Christ, and I can’t imagine living without Him.
So what “Treasure Ride” are you on? Is it an earthly, temporary “get all I can for myself now” path or an eternal one that requires sacrifice now for a greater, never-ending reward in heaven?
Christ offers an abundant life that pales in comparison to any short-term earthly assets that we can accumulate or enjoy temporarily. The missionary trainers at Scriptures in Use can witness to the exciting roller coaster ride that only God can provide when you choose to follow him. Additionally we have the privilege of partnering with many leaders of faith around the world, whose lives are a tribute to the Glory of God. It is a journey that I want to be a part of, and I hope you do too.