THE RICH YOUNG MAN
One of the admonishments Paul gave to Timothy was to reprove the rich (1Tim6:17). He understood the power money had over the human mind. Man would easily come under the influence, dominance and control of money. Money has idolatry powers; ability to be worshipped. Many have money as the baseline of their existence. The architectural framework, of their mind is money dependent. The world has had a supply chain of rich men and will always do. We had Abraham, Isaac, Boaz and Job in the Before Christ Era, they were financial emperors in their time. John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and Jacob Astor were of financial reference in the mid Anglo-America dominance. The present age has Warren Buffett, Bill gates, Carlos Slim and many other Billionaires. They are the very regulars in present day Forbes rich list.
The Bible made mention of a certain rich man who had an encounter with Jesus. It was not just ancient journalists and the society that acknowledged his wealth. The Bible called him the rich young man. He was worthy of scriptural recognition. He had probably contributed to a temple edifice or was always available to adequately support the welfare. He had the privilege to meet with Jesus, while he was alive. The Bible didn’t make mention of his net worth or his source of wealth. It was obviously not relevant to the discourse. His name was not mentioned, neither was he ever referenced after the event. He had a heart for the Mosaic law. He knew the law by heart and was careful to oblige to all of the laws. He didn’t allow his wealth come between him and God. He was a Mosaic Christian. An upright follower of the law. He was not sure of his Christian race, despite his goodwill. So he decided to meet and ask Jesus. Jesus recommended he fulfilled the Law, which he confidently answered to being an observer (Matt19:17-19) He asked Jesus a second time, “what he did lack?(Matt19:20). He was concerned about the journey to heaven, he had the kingdom at heart. Jesus responded; “If you want to be perfect, go and sell off all your property, and give to the poor”. (Matt19:21). It was a bombshell. An auditory explosive. It was not a bestseller. He thought Jesus didn’t have an idea of his worth. His fortune, he supposed could change the face of Jerusalem. He was supportive of the temple’s financial needs. Questions popped up. Who will help the poor, widow, sick and the disabled? He didn’t even request for perfection, he only desires for a place at the Master’s feet. He could have agreed to the terms, but Jesus further demanded he was going to be a disciple. A disciple does not have a place to lay his head. He was not ready for a crusade or revival life. Discipleship meant he was going to live his life for Jesus, beginning to witness Christ from city to city. This would limit his capacity to do trade and commerce. Gradually, his net worth might reduce. His name was going to be omitted from the next Forbes list, due to fall in economic activities. He was going to move out of his residential edifice and begin sleeping in ships with Peter and Judas. The disciples he supposed didn’t have money, the ministry was supported by Mary Magdalene (Luke8:2-3). Jesus had to show his deity, to pay temple tax (Matt17:27). The man was instantly filled with sorrow. He was remorseful. He had a choice to make between God and his wealth. He was not ready let go off his wealth. It was the baseline of his integrity and reputation, his wealth was his source of joy, security and harmony.
One of the major tragedies of Christianity is the unwillingness to let go, the idols of the mind. The material or secular things we esteem above God. In these things we put our trust and faith, subconsciously. The young man must have always boasted about his love for God, until his trust was tested. He didn’t even get into the refinery before he melted. He was not even close to the fireplace. It eluded him, that it is God that gives power to make, transfer, expand and retain wealth. The demand by Jesus to give off our riches is a figurative expression. It’s his desire to trust in him and not fleeting riches. Our social, mental and physical security is guaranteed by God, and not money.
The call by Christ for perfection and discipleship is that unto power and authority in the Holy Ghost. The result of diligently obliging to the call is Treasures in Heaven. Treasures that don’t rust or fade away. Eternal treasures. Jesus doesn’t just want your name on the Forbes list. He wants us to do exploits through his name. He wants us to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and cleanse leprosy (Matt10:8). These were Jesus’ plans for the Rich young man. To give him power unto the nations. To give him peace in marriage, victory over works of darkness, give him rest and joy unspeakable while expanding his wealth base. Jesus intends to liberate us from material space that we idolise. He wants to help us get a life of victory and more importantly, eternal life. Can we oblige to Christ’s call, to give up our wealth for the works of discipleship. Never forget, that God takes pleasure in the prosperity of his servants (Psalm35:27).
To access the life of a Victor. You must have a relationship with Jesus. Confess Jesus as your Lord and savior today, believing he died for your sins and resurrected for your justification.
Photo Credit: Christianity Malaysia