In Mark 10:17-31, we hear about the rich young man who asks the Lord what he must do to inherit eternal life. The rich man hurried as he headed toward our Lord. He was an “aristocrat.” There is a sense of urgency in his question, and as you read, you can feel that he is distressed. The man dropped to his knees in front of our Lord and asked: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” At that time, it was fairly unusual for a rich young man to kneel before a teacher. And the truth is, not many rich people were so earnest about inheriting eternal life.
The disciples looked at Jesus and were eager to hear wisdom from Him. Jesus Christ then said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” It was an unexpected reply from Jesus. Both the disciples and the rich young man looked confused. Then Jesus Christ mentioned the commandments, such as honor your father and mother and do not steal, bear false witness, commit murder, or practice adultery. The man replied, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” The reply of the rich young man is indeed somewhat remarkable. But then Jesus paused, and it was mentioned in the Bible that Jesus loved him (Mark 10:21). The affection of the Lord radiated throughout His face, and then His mouth opened, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, the rich man went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
All hope drained out of the face of the rich young man. It was devastating for him because he thought he was a good person, but he was shaken by the answer from Jesus Christ. Now, he knew that his soul was indeed in trouble. All it took was a clear choice between where his treasure was—God or wealth. And sadly, he loved the treasure more than the Good Teacher. He walked about burdened, and the disciples made unsettled glances. Then someone raised a question, “Then who can be saved?” The good ears of Jesus heard this, so He said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
We can see that wealth can be extraordinarily dangerous if we carefully examine what the Bible says. Jesus said in Matthew 19:24 that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Seeking wealth and material riches is indeed a fool’s choice, especially if you prioritize them above God. Wealth can blind people, and it can rob you from seeing the true treasure that is in Christ. The riches of the glory of God are the true treasure, while the treasure here on earth is counterfeit and temporary. No wonder in Luke 6:20, God said that blessed are the poor.
Christians don’t want to get involved with idols. Idols such as financial security can destroy you. When Jesus calls us to surrender all we have, then we must obey His orders. But the truth is, having more possessions and belongings that are of the world can make our ears deaf and our hearts callous to such surrender. When the Bible says it can be exceedingly difficult or almost impossible to enter the Kingdom of God while you seek the earth’s treasure, then believe it to be true. But God is so rich in mercy.
Your earthly treasure must be for God, and you must know that it is from God. You must obey without reservation when the Holy Spirit tells you to use it to advance the Kingdom. Jesus is showing us the Path of Life (Psalm 16:11), and in Him, we must trust. What is the right way to be rich? 1 Timothy 6:18 tells us, “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”
If a person is rich, what would you say to them? Tell them not to trust in their money or riches in life but trust in the Lord that they may be able to do good deeds. Becoming rich in itself is no sin, but allowing your wealth to sit upon the throne of your heart is bad. Rich Christian people should know how to do good deeds such as sharing with the poor, providing for the needs of those who are in poverty, and making generous contributions to the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Remember that being rich is difficult, but it doesn’t mean that you will not be saved. Take note, with man it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.