Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Rich Young Ruler

I am blessed to have a group of ladies in my life that have true hearts after Christ. Every Tuesday morning we meet for bible study. I am so blessed and lifted up by them! Recently, we decided that once a month we would use our time to serve the community around us. So, yesterday we rounded up the troops to go help a sister in need. We helped her pack up her house so she would be ready to move in two days. We also spent the last week collecting items to pack up boxes for "Operation Christmas Child". We ended up with enough items to fill 8 boxes. Also recently, we began to collect money each week for "Blood/Water Missions", a ministry that digs wells in Africa to give them clean drinking water. We have so many things we want to do that it might just take another day out of the week.

I am telling you this because I keep hearing more and more about ministries that are suffering. How can they spread the gospel without our contribution? Or take care of the poor as we are commanded to do? The truth is, they can't and if we only give from our overflow, the gospel will suffer and the poor will increase. And you know what, we will suffer too. If we pull back our giving, we may not suffer externally but we will suffer internally. Our hearts will begin to grow colder and we will become more selfish.

In Luke 18:18-23 it tells the story of the rich young ruler. As I see it he had three strikes against him. First, he was rich. Second, he was young. Third, he was a ruler. What do I mean? I mean that he had wealth, youth and power. Three of the things that often corrupt us and make us think that we can do life on our own power. Today, I want to address the issue that this passage speaks about, his wealth. This man wanted eternal life and asked Jesus what he could do to inherit it. He knew the commandments and had kept them from his youth. So what did Jesus tell him to do? He told the man to go and sell all he had and distribute to the poor, then come and follow Him. The man became very sorrowful because he was very rich.

Too often we think of our income as our own and it is not. The WHOLE thing belongs to God, not just ten percent. If we are to give our entire life to Christ, this too would be part of it. Maybe instead of doing only what is required, we should put it all in His hands and then ask how much He would have us keep.

Somehow, our view of what makes us rich has gotten warped. Jesus Christ, even though he was a carpenter, did not build himself a huge house, buy himself every luxury He could find and then give ten percent to the church. He gave all, and I am thankful He did. For without His sacrificial life we would have no way to eternal life.

So maybe as Christians we should begin to scale back, live with less and give more. More of ourselves, our time AND our money.

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