Ref: Mark 10:17-27
As Christians it is important to understand our material wealth from God's point of view, we also need to understand the difference between wealth and riches. In his book titled for the least of these, '(Braddley, 2015, p. 65) rightly defines wealth as “a suitable accumulation of resources and possessions of value.” Under this definition, it is very clear that being wealthy is a relative factor since the magnitude and measure of it varies depending on many obvious factors including the general economy of a place. This therefore means that one is wealthy to the extent that they have sufficient quality food, clothing, and shelter. Riches on the other hand refers to
the excesses of the same things or materials.
The young man we are discussing today in Mark 10:17-27 was not just wealthy by the standards of their days but he was rich as per the definitions given above. According to the bible material riches are regarded as neither good nor bad in themselves but it all depends on how properly or improperly they are used or perceived. Proverbs 27:24 teaches that they are not to be trusted since they do not endure forever and therefore our hearts are not to be set on them; but the fact that they come from God makes riches good and in fact they are the crown of the wise as taught in proverbs 14:24. Was there a problem in the rich young man in our story? Before we answer this we need to commend him for the fact that he had the eagerness to access the kingdom of God. We must not water down this effort to run to the Lord Jesus seeking means and ways to access the kingdom of God. Yes! In deed there was a problem with
him like many of us today. The problem was that he attached his heart on the material possessions so much that he got blinded to the big reality of things not seen. It reminds me of the “omo pick a box” “money or the box.” Show on TV a couple of years ago.
Wealth is in many cases a result of honest work as well as riches. But sometimes work can also be an obstacle to following Jesus. If we have privileged positions as the rich young man did then we are faced by the challenge of managing our careers and the time set for them and sometimes this may cause a difficulty in serving God and others, or even making time for family. This is not how it should be. It may block us from obeying God's calling. Our wealth and privilege may make us arrogant or insensitive to the people around us. The moral of the story is that it is hard to motivate yourself to change the world if you are already under the control of these things. Like the young rich man, we are the ones who suffer when we let wealth or riches cut us off from other people and remove us from relationship with God. The solution is not to try harder to be good, but to accept God's love. What are you going to let go this lent?
Shalom Adonai eleikhem! (The peace of the Lord be with you)