Tuesday, October 9, 2012

If I Were a Rich Man...Really?

Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.

In Mark 10:17-31, how could such a command be an expression of Jesus’ “love” for the man or anyone? No matter how we try to soften his words, their penetrating truth can send us away like the rich man, “shocked” and “grieving.”

We know that one of the ancient keys to knowing whether or not you were “blessed” and that God was on your side was success…especially financial success. Perhaps the rich man’s problem is not that he is rich but that he has put his faith in the wealth he has or craves?

Robert Capon suggests that religions are our human attempts to get God on our side and to do something for us. Some religions stress saying the proper words, reciting the correct creed, or proper confessions of faith. Some religions stress worshiping the right (or rite) way. Some religions stress doing or living the right way. Whether it is "creed, cult, or conduct," or all three, religions are our human attempts to get God on our side and to get God to do what we desire. Perhaps this type of "religious" mindset is behind the question, "What must I do to inherit eternal life.”

In our text, the answer to "how hard?" is "It's impossible." Whenever we make it "possible" to do with enough work or sacrifice, we miss the radical nature of Jesus' comments: "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible." (Crossmarks, Brian P. Stoffregen)


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