Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, 'One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.'
But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, 'How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!' And the disciples were astonished at His Words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, 'Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'
Most Christians in America can relate to the rich, young ruler. Because compared to the rest of the world, that's exactly what we are: wealthy rulers in a rich, young nation. Even our poor people live better than most of the rest of mankind.**
Rulers? The Bible says we're kings and priests.*** Truly, we have so much freedom, and our media rules the earth. Therefore, actors, models and talent for Christ now enter stage right.
But to abandon our creature comforts? It's a sacrifice hard to consider: roomy houses, spacious bedrooms, private bathrooms, easy access, yards and driveways, toys and treasures. We cherish them. I'm guilty of a pampering lifestyle.
Yet here are three questions rising before our eyes: 1) Can we carry our favorite things, plus a cross? 2) Are our backs so much stronger than His? Since they're not, 3) Are we willing to deny ourselves and go forth?
Jesus loved the rich, young ruler. He followed each of God's Rules. But following Christ was harder. He would have to leave his comforts. Are we similarly challenged? I am.
So let's examine ourselves more closely. Based on stuff, ungodly comparison and mutual admiration should stop. Based on Him, let's begin to reevaluate our comforts and know they're in Him. As His Life evidenced, He travels light.
To Be Continued...
* Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler (entire story, plus His follow-up Words to His disciples): https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+10%3A17-31&version=NKJV
** Short Forbes Article: Astonishing Numbers: America's Poor Still Live Better Than Most Of The Rest Of Humanity: http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/06/01/astonishing-numbers-americas-poor-still-live-better-than-most-of-the-rest-of-humanity/
*** 'And they sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are You to take the Book and to break Its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your Blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth' ' (Revelation 5:9-10, NASB).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Homesick series.