New International Version (NIV)
17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees beforehim. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “Noone is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commitadultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shallnot defraud, honor your father and mother.’[a]”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have keptsince I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thingyou lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and youwill have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad,because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,“How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. ButJesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[b]to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone whois rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said toeach other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this isimpossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything tofollow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one whohas left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fieldsfor me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes,brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and inthe age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
While reading this passage over, I got a very distinct image. It wasof a man dressed in a suit amongst a see of angry protestors with “Occupy Wallstreet” or “Give Power to the 99%” signs with a sign of his own “You think you have problems…just wait”. (If anyone watched Castle this week you may understand my inspiration). Wealth seems to have always been a complex issue in today’s world. When people are paid complements about their lavish home or car, the polite response is usually, “We’ve been very blessed”. But have they? Jesus says that wealth is a burden, a distraction from allowing your heart to open and accept the grace and calling of God. So, is privilege not a gift but a challenge God gives us to muddle through in order to find true happiness? And, more importantly, I must look at my own life and say am I up to this challenge?
I volunteer at a local hospital on the weekends. This past weekend I witnessed 2 different children about the same age playing. One had an Ipad. Within 10 minutes, the child became bored and fussy. The other had ared balloon. Two hours later the child was still smiling, laughing, and bouncing the balloon all over theroom. You tell me which child God touched more the one with the $500 toy or the $.05 one?