Money, The Great Deceiver
21 “Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:21-22 NKJV
God’s Word shows us a clear way to see objectively just where we stand on our spiritual walk. In Mark the 10th chapter we see the story of the rich young ruler who comes seeking Jesus, to inquire as to how he can inherit eternal life. He is seeking to find where he stands spiritually.
In the 19th verse, he tells the Lord that since his childhood he has kept all the commandments. In other words, he thinks that he has earned eternal life because of his own good works. Jesus looked at him and loved him. He wanted the young man to receive eternal life through Him. He tells him that he must sell all of his possessions and give to the poor. He goes away very disheartened, for the gospel writer explains that he was a very wealthy young man. A lot of people read this verse and think that Jesus is saying that we should give all away and possess nothing. That is not it at all. It is Jesus demonstrating that we all fall short of fulfilling the requirements of the law and that we all need a Savior.
The rich young ruler believed that he had fulfilled the law since his youth. But according to the Bible not one of us has, nor is any of us capable of doing so. Jesus demonstrated this to the young man by going right to the point. The young ruler had not kept all of the commandments. In fact, he had not even kept the very first commandment. In Exodus 20 we see the first of the 10 Commandments is “you shall have no other gods before me.” Jesus saw this man’s heart and knew that his god was money. Above all else, that is what he served, and that is what Jesus was demonstrating to him by exposing the young ruler’s failure to keep all the law, requiring a Savior. It was not having money kept him from eternal life. It was his love of money above even God that stood between him and eternal life.
Our culture operates on money. It is the marker of success in our society. We have to have money to operate in this world. But it is our attitude towards money that reveals our hearts! Nothing will expose our progress, or lack thereof, quicker than our attitude towards giving to the Lord! It reveals where we stand spiritually.
J Todd Hostetler