James 5:1-3 NKJV
Matthew 19:21-24 NKJV
I Timothy 6:10 NKJV
When I was growing up my dad would often talk with me (and my brother) about not putting emphasis on money. He clearly believed being rich was not the secret to a happy life. He did not seek money.
In private I would go to him and ask why. I wondered why not seeking money seemed to be a ‘theme’ for him. Several times he told me not to seek money or fame. God would give me everything I need, but I needed to be satisfied with what I had.
In James 5:1-3, he wrote, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.”
While I thought my dad was pretty severe about his attitude on money, it wasn’t nearly as harsh as James’ words in this passage.
The thing about money is that it doesn’t last. James is right. Money is not eternal and eventually it goes away. All my life I’ve heard various people say ‘you can’t take it with you’. But I’ve known a lot of people who choose to seek money and rely on it for security. They do not seek God. They do not consider God to be their secure stronghold. They do not act like money is a temporary ‘uncorrode-able’ element.
In Matthew 19:21-22, Jesus counseled a rich young ruler. “Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
I suppose because I was taught that money wasn’t the most reliable source in life, I have struggled with this passage of scripture. I honestly didn’t (don’t) understand why the rich young ruler didn’t even try to listen to Jesus and ask Him how he could turn to God. I believe if the rich ruler would have shown some desire to turn to God, Jesus would have helped him draw. Instead the rich young man immediately gave up and walked away. Scripture clearly says he was very sad but he still walked away. He chose his temporary wealth over eternal glory with God. I don’t understand that choice.
After Jesus spoke with the rich young man He continued the conversation with His disciples telling them while all things are possible with God, it’s more difficult for the wealthy. In Matthew 19:23-24 we learn, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, 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.”
A camel (dromedary) is one tall animal! An adult male camel can be as tall as 6 feet 6 inches from their shoulders to the ground and at the hump they measure over 7 feet tall. They are between 10 feet and 11 feet 5 inches long (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dromedary).
The eye of the needle at the time of Jesus was at the gate to the city in Jerusalem. It was a large door that was closed at night. Even though it was large enough for a tall man to walk through, it would have been very difficult for a camel to walk through (http://www.best-travel-deals-tips.com/jerusalem-eye-of-the-needle-gate.html). Jesus was saying it was difficult, but not impossible.
Paul warned his student Timothy about greed and in I Timothy 6:10 he urged him to seek another kind of life, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Once again, with his example Paul was warning his student Timothy that money is a temporary thing.
So what is eternal? To name a few…
Love for God.
Love for Others.
The fruit of the Spirit we read about in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) is eternal.
In those things, we find contentment.
Eternal lasting contentment.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Contentment
Consider how God has blessed you with His gifts, people who love you (and have loved you), and provision. Thank God for blessing you and BE content.
In God, Deborah