Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"I Want It All!"

When the young rich guy asked Jesus about inheriting eternal life, in Mark 10, he surely wasn't expecting anyone to question his financial status. Yet, his wealth was the one thing in his life that was a barrier to what he claimed he wanted most - eternal life. I asked the question Sunday, "What's wrong with wealth?" and probably surprised some folks with the short answer of "nothing is wrong with wealth." It's just a tool, a blessing, a means to an end. It can accomplish incredibly wonderful things or it can be an obsession that twists life and steals eternity. The saddest thing about wealth is that we, like the young rich guy in Mark 10, define ourselves by our wealth, rather than our relationship with God. In fact, it's another illustration of a tool becoming an idol, like so many other things God has given us to help us live and grow.
Wealth is a weird thing when you think about it. First, it's relative. We never think of ourselves as wealthy because it is what those who have MORE THAN US are. And, in spite of how wealthy we really may be, we just know that happiness and contentment can only be achieved when we have MORE. Amazingly enough, we just know that we would be good stewards of MORE WEALTH and not abuse it, blow it, or hoard it, like so many others seem to do. And that is important for our theology of interpreting what Jesus said when he pointed out that it's hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. He didn't say impossible, but he did do that camel through the eye of a needle thing to illustrate his point. He also made it clear that God makes things possible. So - our logic about increased wealth just has include our belief that we would be (or are) the exception to the rule. In other words, God would be so pleased with how we used the wealth he gave us that he would save us in spite of our being rich.
Maybe the honest thing to do is to ask ourselves some questions about what kind of servants we have been with what he has already given to us. Why would we possibly think that God would be interested in giving more to servants who haven't been faithful with the blessings already given. There is that parable about The Talents - remember? Would you say you've been like the five and two talent guys, or maybe more like the one talent guy?
The good news is that the Master hasn't returned yet! So - what will we do with the wealth we have?

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