Mark 10: 17 – 30
As Jesus went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honour your father and mother.”
He said, “Teacher, I have – from my youth – kept them all!”
Jesus looked him hard in the eye – and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”
The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?” The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult. I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.”
That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.
Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.”
Peter tried another angle: “We left everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land – whatever – because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land – but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first.”
For the rich young man, his money was a problem. He was good – kept all the commandments but maybe missed out on the main one, to love God and love the neighbour. Jesus’ heart went out to him in love, his misery and his wealth. But wealth blocked him from receiving love…what could have brought great joy to his heart was blocked.
Wealth can do this. The way forward is in sharing. If he could get free of his money and attachment to it, he would be happy. Otherwise he went away sad. Jesus did not condemn wealth, but the selfish hoarding of it.
We notice that people when they get rich may lose friends. They have to put guard gates on the house. And people are afraid to go out with them because they can’t afford the life style. Wealth and its trappings can stunt love.
Same with other things we get attached to – property, health, good looks, all that keeps us from real love.
For Jesus – Sharing is the way forward. He did that himself, shared his eternal life of happiness with us to death. Shared the love of his heart. The grateful heart will encourage us to share and to remain human and humble.