“Money often comes between men and God,” wrote A. W. Tozer.
“Someone has said that you can take two small ten-cent pieces, just two dimes,” Tozer observed, “and shut out the view of a panoramic landscape. Go to the mountains and just hold two coins closely in front of your eyes–the mountains are still there, but you cannot see them at all because there is a dime shutting off the vision in each eye.”
“It doesn’t take large quantities of money to come between us and God; just a little, placed in the wrong position, will effectively obscure our view.”
In today’s Bible reading, Mark 10, we read about a man coming to Jesus with a good question. “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I might inherit eternal life?”
This narrative is found in all three synoptic gospels–Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Together we learn that he was young. He was rich. And he was a ruler. Seemingly he was sincere. There’s nothing to suggest that he was trying to trap Jesus.
It has often been observed that He came to the right person with the right question. Too often people go to the wrong people for advice. If you have a religious question, come to Jesus. Erroneously, some ask irrelevant or frivolous questions. The ruler’s iniquity was worthy of serious consideration.
When Jesus reiterated six of the Ten Commandments, the young man felt good about himself. “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth,” he responded. (v. 18-20)
“One thing you lack,” Jesus replied, “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.” (V. 21)
Mark records “he was sad” at what Jesus said. And “went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
Jesus is not teaching that everyone who desires to be His disciple must liquidate all their assets in order to be a Christian. Rather He addressed a specific problem this young man had.
Regarding this account Warren Wiersbe commented, “Money is a marvelous servant but a terrible master. If you possess money, be grateful and use it for God’s glory, but if money possesses you, beware! It is good to have the things that money can buy, provided you don’t lose the things that money cannot buy.”
Sadly, this young man’s money possessed him. It had come between him and God. He was disappointed. However, Jesus was even more disappointed because “he loved him.”
Money, possessions and material things can drive a wedge between us and our relationship with the Lord. We don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to have this problem. Greed and covetous is not confined to a certain economic or social class. It’s a challenge we all must be aware of and beware of.
However, there may be many things that can separate us from God. It may be a desire for popularly. We all want to be well-liked. Do we desire the favor of other people more than to be pleasing to God?
What about pleasure? Does your relaxation and recreation take precedence over Bible study, prayer and ministry?
Sports are huge in our society today. On any given Sunday, stadiums are filled with folks watching football, basketball or baseball. I’ve known of some who skip worship because someone gave them a ticket to see their favorite team.
Unfortunately, this has trickled down to amateur sports. The children of many Christians are playing ball on Sunday instead of attending Bible class and worship. Instead of a dime obscuring their view of God, it’s a ball. And it’s sad.
Sometimes it’s a person who is more important than what the Lord requires. I’ve heard folks admit they’re living in an illicit relationship, but are unwilling to give it up because of someone they love.
Maybe each of us should examine ourselves and ask, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Then when the Lord answers “there’s one thing you lack,” gladly and graciously accept it. And follow Him.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman