Blinded by Their Wealth

Mark 10: 17-27
Sir 17:20-24 / Psa 32

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.
(Mark 10:25)

As I ponder life’s mystery,
Its deepest question comes to me:
What good would all life’s riches be
If we should lose Eternity?

As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up, knelt before Him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and mother.'” The man said, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus looked straight at him with love and said, “You need only one thing. Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” When the man heard this, his face fell, and he went away sad, because he was very rich. Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at His words, so Jesus went on to say, “My children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.” At this the disciples were completely amazed and asked one another, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus looked straight at them and answered, “For man this is impossible, but not for God; all things are possible for God.” (Mark 10:17-27)

Reflection

A friend once told me, “Sometimes those who have everything in life are really the ones who have nothing.” How wise those words are. Having so much wealth can reduce the value of everything else, until there is nothing left worth appreciating, or being grateful for. In the end it might be one’s great wealth that will cause him to lose the most important thing of all – the pearl of great price, eternal life in God’s kingdom. “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?” (Mt.16:26). The rich young ruler could not have it all. It was either one or the other. As Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and mammon” (Mt.6:24). One will inevitably displace the other. But the man who puts his trust in his money can never be happier than a poor man who puts his trust in God. “Sleep is sweet to the laboring man, whether he eats little or much, but the rich man’s abundance allows him no sleep” (Eccl.5:11).

Jesus was giving a sound advice to that young ruler. Out of His love for him, He was offering him a rare chance to gain His eternal blessing. But out of his love for money, the man walked away, a lost soul. Blinded by his wealth, he could not see beyond death’s door.

Like the rich man asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, I had often wondered if I was doing enough to ensure the salvation of my soul. I have been fortunate. Where I finished my high school and college the principle of “being a man for others” was emphasized as key to finding fulfillment in this life. One can only wonder why so many intelligent people, Christians at heart, forget their eternal destination once they reach the pinnacle of their material success. Proverbs says, ”Honor the Lord with your wealth… then will your barns be filled with grain, with new wine your vats will overflow” (Prov.3:9-10). Depending on our attitude towards our wealth, it can either be a blessing or a curse.

With these thoughts in mind, there are times when I pray to God, “Thank You, Lord that You have not allowed me to become rich and powerful.” I remember a passage in the Bible that says, “Man in his prosperity is like cattle led to slaughter.” At 65 years of age, I have realized that true wealth lies in having genuine friends, being physically fit, enjoying the love of wife, children, siblings and in-laws, and being active in my spiritual community. I can only thank the Lord for revealing life’s real treasure to me, and enriching my faith.

Your blessings are more precious than the fleeting pleasures of wealth; Your Spirit satisfies the deepest longing in my heart… Lord Jesus, You are my greatest treasure. Amen

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