In the last part of this series, we began looking at the solution to the problem with The World’s message. We’re continuing that discussion today and over the next parts of the series. We’ll look at God’s View of the world, money, and our lives so we can start to focus on serving Him instead of serving Money.
In Luke 18:18-30, we see the story of the rich ruler. The ruler asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Here is Jesus’ response:
18 A certain ruler asked him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 Jesus asked him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good, except one—God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Don’t commit adultery,’ ‘Don’t murder,’ ‘Don’t steal,’ ‘Don’t give false testimony,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”
21 He said, “I have observed all these things from my youth up.”
22 When Jesus heard these things, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Come, follow me.”
23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was very rich.
24 Jesus, seeing that he became very sad, said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.”
26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?”
27 But he said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
28 Peter said, “Look, we have left everything, and followed you.”
29 He said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children, for the Kingdom of God’s sake, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the world to come, eternal life.”
Luke 18:18-30 (WEB)
This story is also found in Matthew 19:21-30 and Mark 10:17-27.
When this rich ruler approached Him, Jesus knew that his heart was still focused on his wealth even though he had kept all the commandments since he was young. Earlier in our Personal Finance Bible Study, we learned that focusing on or serving Money keeps us from serving God. When Jesus answered the ruler’s question, he quickly honed in on this fact and challenged the rich ruler to give up his wealth if he truly wanted to serve God and inherit eternal life.
But we see the rich ruler’s response. He was saddened at the thought of giving up all of his wealth. What would we do if Jesus told us to sell everything, give it to the poor, and follow Him? Would we be so attached to our material possessions and wealth that we wouldn’t give it up for Jesus?
What if Jesus asked us to sell our iPods so we could feed the hungry? Or buy a smaller home so we could give clean water to those in third-world countries? Or forgo a new car and get a used one instead so we could give medicine to the weak? These are small things in comparison to selling everything we own, but there’s a good chance we feel resistance at the very thought of those actions.
Naturally, we hold the Things of This World very dear to our hearts because we clearly and plainly see them every day. We easily understand the necessity of some things, and we enjoy the convenience and fun of others. But our focus on This World keeps us from seeing the necessity of God’s viewpoint—of realizing that love and relationships matter much, much more than iPods, big homes, and new cars. We can take nothing with us when we die, yet look at how we strive to accumulate so much Stuff all our lives! This is exactly one of the reasons that Solomon said everything under the Sun is meaningless.
But if it is so natural for us to be attached to the Things of This World, how can we be saved if the salvation Jesus offers requires us to give up that very attachment to our natural world? We can try to remind ourselves that eternal happiness with God in Heaven is worth more than anything The World can offer, but we cannot completely remove the attachment to The World without God’s help. What is impossible for us on our own is possible with God. Through prayer and a close relationship with God, our hearts can be changed so we focus on God’s World and not ours.
The reward of contentment is very great. Our lives are made easier and much more joyful here on Earth because contentment makes the smallest things very great. A hot meal, warm clothes, or a soft bed—all are great wealth to the person who is content. We also get the eternal reward of communion with God and everlasting life in Heaven. How can any benefit of the world’s wealth be greater than the benefit of God’s rewards for us?
So this is the first part of God’s view we must begin to take on for ourselves. Our attachment to This World keeps us from fully receiving God’s gifts and fully serving Him. We must give up this attachment if we want to truly receive eternal life in Jesus. And we cannot do it on our own—we must ask God to change our hearts and teach us His ways. If it seems impossible, remember you are not alone. God can do it through you!
Want to read the entire Bible study series on Contentment? Download your free copy of Contentment Is Wealth: A Bible Study on Contentment now!