All about the Benjamins (part 2)

Posted by Matt Lane on January 9th, 2008 filed in Blurbs

Posts in this series...
  1. Lovers of Money (part 1)
  2. All about the Benjamins (part 2)

So for my second post in this series, I want to talk about the young rich guy who comes to Jesus asking what else he needed to do to inherit eternal life.

Our story is found in Mark 10:17-31

This guy with more than a few dollars to his name comes to Jesus asking him what else there is to do.  He knew about Moses’ laws and keeps them.  He tells Jesus yes yes yes I have done all of those things, what else is there? He thinks well of himself and obviously he knows how to make money and keep it.  He has built a pretty good life for himself.  He has done it all.  He doesn’t need anything from anyone.  He brings to Jesus all his ideals of what holiness is.  He believes that he has got it all together and can do anything.  Unfortunately, Jesus didn’t want him to come with his own ideas and with short-term motivations.  The guy wanted to get eternal life his way.  This guy wanted to give his life to Jesus but not his money.  Is that even possible?  Debatable.  What if this guy had come to Jesus saying he had kept Moses’ law and has all this money and wants to do with it whatever Jesus tells him to do with it?  If his attitude was different towards money, do you think Jesus’ response would have been different?  Jesus hit the one issue that this guy wouldn’t give up.  This guy’s wealth had a strangle hold on him that was lethal.  He was counting on the wrong things.  Jesus said in the story that you can’t get there on your own but with God it is possible.

Does this story apply to anyone today?  Most of us are not rich – at least not according to ourselves.  To many around the world though, we are.  What if Jesus told you to give up the nice house, the two cars, the swimming pools, and the nice job – what would your answer be?  What would my answer be?  The answer will determine how much of a strangle-hold money has on you and me. 

In middle-class American, life is pretty cushy.  I don’t worry about food, water, shelter – really I don’t worry about necessities at all.  The things I worry about would be embarrassing to admit in a global comparison.  If my Internet connection is down or I can’t get a good signal on my cell phone I think life is crappy and wonder what people did before the technology era.  Yikes.

I’ll veer off topic slightly to ask how much is too much for a Christian?  It is a touchy subject for many.  For years we have heard that to have “things” is not wrong and if God blesses you, good for you.  I want to say that it can be wrong to have things and while I will not say where that line is for fear of being legalistic, there is a line.  I think it is very much about attitude and I have to constantly evaluate if I am in the right spot.  If I would ask what I can do for God with this purchase, it might really help me. 

 Would I be willing to give up my cushy life for the Gospel?  Do my money purchases reflect my Kingdom mentality or my livin’ it up here mentality?  Are my possessions getting in the way of me loving God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength? Is my money getting in the way of showing others Jesus’ love?  A flippant answer would say yes of course I could give it all up but I wonder if we really pondered these questions, would we find a deep seeded reliance for the things that are temporary?

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