Many scripture passages make us uncomfortable, and for some of us, today's reading in Matthew's Gospel is one of these. We live in a time when we, as Canadians, have never been wealthier, and the focus on wealth has never been more pronounced. What does God want from us? Should we be selling everything and give it all to the poor? What if God asks this of me? Let's take a look.
We see the "rich young ruler" had acquired a high position in the world around him. He was in leadership, had security in his wealth and followed the commandments to the letter of the law. Consequently, he thought he was "good." After his encounter with Jesus, he began to realize that maybe he was still missing something. When Jesus told him what was required, he left. V22 says he went away feeling very sad. The rich young ruler was unwilling to trust and follow Jesus' instructions. He recognized Jesus' authority, but not enough to follow through with the complete dispersal of his wealth. Why would Jesus ask this of him while many of his own disciples still owned homes? What about other wealthy followers of God, like Abraham, or Job, in today's Old Testament reading, who weren't required to give up all of their wealth?
God wants every part of us and often asks for a specific thing, knowing it will hinder our growth. The Bible warns us about wealth being one area that quickly rules us, preventing growth. But it's not the only area! We need to learn that our heavenly father knows what is best for us, and when God asks us to walk with him in any area of our life, we need to jump at the opportunity. God wants all of us, so we are to hold on to things in our life lightly, especially money. He wants nothing to hinder our relationship with him and desires our focus to be that of eternal things.
Take a moment to pray and ask God what may be hindering your walk with him, and don't be afraid of his response. There is nothing more fulfilling in this life than walking with him in full surrender.
"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open."
Corrie Ten Boom
Foothills Alliance Elders Board Chair