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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Word For The Week

A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"

"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Luke 18:18-25
What makes you rich? Many people associate the accumulation of capital as constituting richness, but by what standard would you consider yourself to be rich? Some find riches in the love of their family. Some find riches in their accomplishments. Some find riches in the applause of others, but many, many people find riches in cold, hard cash. Whatever the source of one's riches, be it a mountain of money or an abundance of affable acqaintances, one who considers themselves to be rich will almost certainly reject the Kingdom of God.

A rich man is significantly different from a man with riches. A rich man will often respond to the good news of Jesus Christ in the same manner as David Chappelle's caricture of Rick James: "I'm rich!" A rich man will often view his current state as sufficient - he's rich. A rich man will often reject anything said by anyone else that does not validate his current way of life - he's rich, and if you don't get that then that's your problem and not his.

Not so, the man with riches.

The man with riches does not identify himself with his riches - his money is a means to and end, his acquaintences are appreciated by they in no way define him. The man with riches differentiates between who he is and what he has, and such a man can indeed accept Jesus Christ. Peter owned a fishing business and led a comfortable life, yet he accepted and followed Jesus. Cornelius was wealthy enough to have several servants in his household yet he accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Having riches does not automatically mean that the possessor will reject Jesus Christ, however one who identifies themselves with their riches will virtually always reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It's a matter of priorities.

Rich men put their riches before everything else. The rich man who works all day and all night to get that promotion, neglecting his family and friends. The rich man who passes by the homeless without giving them anything but his contempt. The rich man who refuses to submit to any authority other than his own, such a man will most certainly reject the Kingdom of God - even while pretending to be a subject of the King.

It has been said that many people are willing to accept Jesus, but only on an advisory basis. Jesus isn't your personal Dr. Phil or Magic 8-Ball - He is the creator of the universe, the one whose "Let there be" sparked the biggest bang in history - and He wants each of us to have abundant life in Him, to find our richness in Him. Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." Jesus said, "Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life." Jesus said, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Will you seek after Jesus, or are you already rich?

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to be rich in Him,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

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