05/01/F – Possessed by Possessions

Leviticus 25:14-46; Mark 10:17-31; Psalms 45:1-6; Proverbs 14:15-16

NT: “As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother.” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth.” Looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But he was dismayed by this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were astonished at his words. Again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.” Peter began to tell him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more, now at this time — houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions — and eternal life in the age to come. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”” (‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:17-31‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

This young man who came to Jesus had so much potential. He was wealthy and respected by others. He had manners and morals, and a desire for spiritual things. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have come to Jesus, bowed before Him, and asked what he asked. Unfortunately, the man had a faulty understanding of salvation – which many have today. He believed that he could do something to receive eternal life. He was rich and influential, outstanding in society with a good reputation – surely eternal life was in his grasp. Salvation doesn’t come by doing more good that bad. Salvation comes through realizing that our best efforts cannot rid ourselves of sin – that only God can remove sin. Eternal life comes through humbling ourselves, repenting of our will and ways, and placing complete trust and submission in God through faith in Jesus Christ. With all the things the young man had, he lacked one crucial thing: a genuine living and complete faith in God. His faith was not in God, but in his possessions and his ability to work for and obtain what he wanted. It is not wrong to have possessions. It is wrong for possessions to have you. That is the challenge: to have possessions without them having you. That is why Jesus said (twice in fact) that it is hard for a rich person to lay aside his possessions and trust completely in God. It’s not impossible – just really hard. The only way for a rich man to not be enslaved to  his wealth is through the grace of God, as he offers his life and possessions to God. Jesus promised, that if we are able to truly lay down our lives to the Lord, even in the midst of persecutions, He will provide everything we need in this life and in the life to come.

Proverbs: “The inexperienced one believes anything, but the sensible one watches his steps. A wise person is cautious and turns from evil, but a fool is easily angered and is careless.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:15-16‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

What relevant words for us today. As the world is being brought low by a global pandemic and misinformation is everywhere… as peoples fears are taking over… as many risk losing the possessions they place their trust in… as patience begins to wear thin and the outward veneers wear away to expose our hearts, these words are wise and should be heeded by the grace God gives us as we place our trust fully on Him.

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