Tuesday, June 5th. Mark 10:23-27

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘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 someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’ Mark 10:23-27

Wealth is a complicated subject in the Bible.

In the Old Testament, wealth is a sign of God’s gracious favor.  Abraham became very wealthy, as did his descendants.  Solomon accumulated Bill Gatesian (is that a word?) wealth.  The “promise” in the Promised Land included all the best things one could imagine, a land flowing with milk and honey.

On the other hand, Abraham’s descendants also went belly up and took their empty bellies toEgyptwhere they became slaves for 400 years.  Solomon’s wealth choked him and blinded him from seeing the error in his idolatrous ways.  Even the Promised Land turned out far less promising that originally envisioned.

Then came the prophets with their scorn toward those who laid upon ivory beds and drank wine from golden goblets, all the while neglecting the poor, the stranger, the orphan and the widow.

And even though a complicated subject, in the common sense of people….wealth remained a sign of God’s gracious favor.  The rich were blessed, the poor were…not.  And it was far better, still is in our own day, to be wealthy.

“How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”  What will this text say to us this morning?

Usually at this point we start back-pedaling.  We say things like “It isn’t how much we have (as long as we made it honestly), it is what we do with that we have that matters.”  “It isn’t our wealth that is the problem, but how much we LOVE our wealth that is the problem.” (Amazing, isn’t it, just which Bible verses people still remember in a largely biblically illiterate culture.  People who have to go to the table of contents to find Romans still know that a tithe is 10%.  Ironic.)

How about we keep things very down to earth this morning?

If we understand, as I do, the “kingdom of God” as a relationship defined by surrendering our lives to the lordship of the God who loves us rather than about getting into a very exclusive celestial country club called “heaven”, the simple reality is that wealth can get in our way.

We don’t need to trust God – in this life – when we have plenty of money in the bank and the strong likelihood of more to come.  We can largely do what we want.  We can even pretend to be masters of the universe and choose to define ourselves by the purse we carry or the watch on our wrist.

Nor, quite frankly, do we need to trust God – in this life – if we are poor.  We can choose instead to bewail our misfortune, blame the universe, and drown our sorrows away just like the rich spend theirs away.

In other words, Jesus nails us with these words precisely because we still are stuck in measuring our holiness, our value, our worth, by our net worth and that will never get us anywhere beyond being possessed by our possessions.

The path Jesus is opening up looks much more like liquidation than it does mergers and acquisitions.  Surrender looks much more like, rich or poor, “Lord, what would you have me do with the gifts you have given me?” than it does “Look at what a good boy or girl I am!”

Let us pray:  Lord, we know that, by any standard, we are wildly more wealthy than anyone has ever been.  We have more luxuries, more conveniences, more security, than previous generations thought possible.  Teach us to be content with what we have, to manage well the gifts you have given us, and to seek your guidance as we surrender our wills to yours.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

2 Responses to “Tuesday, June 5th. Mark 10:23-27”

  1. Randy Nelson Says:

    The Bible Reading of the ELCA this morning also dealt with wealth:
    Exodus 25:1-22 (NRSV)
    God in the ark and its mercy seat

    The Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give you shall receive the offering for me. This is the offering that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, fine leather, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and for the breastpiece. And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them. In accordance with all that I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. etc.

    The Lord has offering needs. Much food for thought.

    Thanks, Randy

  2. dating Says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing

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