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Mark 10:17-23 (NIV)
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his kneesbefore him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother. 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
This story shows the love of Jesus in a way we do not often think about. Jesus could tell that there was something keeping the man from fully giving himself to God. This young man did all the right things! He got a good education, worked hard at his job, took care of his family, even gave to the poor. But something was missing and he knew it. The issue is not money or prosperity itself. The issue is the false belief that those things are markers of a good relationship with God. How would you feel about God if your house burnt down or you lost your entire retirement fund? Or what if you had to give up a dream? Lost a marriage? A big game? Would that change how you see God? It is not hard for the rich to enter heaven because we are rich, but because over time our riches become more important to us than our relationship with God. And yet… Jesus loves us.