The seduction of wealth
A magazine reported that an increasing number of people find meaning and meaning in their lives in the mantra “I buy, therefore I am”. You will recognize this humorous modification of a well-known philosophical phrase: "I think that's why I am". But our consumer-oriented culture doesn't need more bought property. What our culture needs is the truth of the gospel, which is the self-revelation of God: I am who I am; that's why you're here! Like so many people today, the rich young man identified himself with his possessions and wealth in the Gospel of Mark. He was seduced in his thinking and thought that his well-being in the here and now is ensured by his physical riches and eternal life is guaranteed by his good works.
The rich man asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life. «One thing is missing. Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, you will have a treasure in heaven, and come, follow me! » (Mark 10,21). Jesus answered his question by telling him to give up love for his possessions and instead fill his heart with a hunger for justice. Jesus' answer was not about what the rich man did for Jesus, but what Jesus could do for him. Jesus asked the man to give up his trust in material things, the illusion that he could control his own life, to surrender himself to God and to trust in God's safety. Jesus challenged the man to accept the eternal riches of God's grace and the absolute certainty of eternal life based on Jesus' own righteousness. Jesus offered the rich man to become one of his disciples. Here was an offer from the Messiah to travel with him, live with him, and walk with him on a daily, familiar basis. The rich man did not despise Jesus' offer or hastily dismissed it. A translation notes that the rich man was shocked and went away in grief, in obvious pain. He sensed the truth of Jesus' diagnosis, but was unable to accept the cure offered.
Let us remember that the rich young man was initially delighted with Jesus' words. He was confident because he was obedient to God because he kept his commandments "from his youth to" (Verse 20) had held. Jesus did not answer him with impatience or ridicule, but with love: "Jesus looked at him and loved him" (Verse 21). With genuine compassion, Jesus quickly identified the obstacle that blocked this man's relationship with God - an affection for his physical possessions and a belief that his own obedience could earn eternal life.
It seems that the wealth of this man has taken possession of him. The rich man had a similar illusion in his spiritual life. He worked under the false assumption that his good works would oblige God to give him eternal life. Therefore, you should ask yourself the question: "Who or what controls my life?"
We live in a consumption-oriented culture that on the one hand pays lip service to freedom and independence. At the same time, it makes us tasty to indulge unceasingly in an enslaving commitment to buy, to acquire and possess things, and to climb the social and economic ladders of success. In addition, we are confronted with a religious culture that emphasizes good works as the key to salvation, or at least asserts that good works play a significant role in qualifying us for salvation or not.
It is a tragedy that some Christians lose sight of where Christ leads us and how we can finally reach our goal. Jesus set out our secure future when he said to his disciples: "Believe in God and believe in me. There are many apartments in my father's house. If it wasn't, I would have said to you: I'm going to prepare the place for you? And when I go to prepare the place for you, I want to come back and take you so that you are where I am. And wherever I go, you know the way » (John 14,1: 4). The disciples knew the way.
Remember that God is who He is, and that's why He loves and forgives you. Jesus offers you in his grace all the riches of his kingdom. He is the foundation of all that you believe, he is the source of your salvation. Respond to him in gratitude and love, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your powers.
by Joseph Tkach