Today’s reading: Mark 9, 10, 11, Proverbs 1
Mark 10:17-24 –
17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?’ 18 So Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.’ 20 And he answered and said to Him, ‘Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.’ 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: 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.’ 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, ‘Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!’
The young man in this story appears to come to Jesus in an act of worship, kneeling down before Him. He also asks Jesus a question that seems to be reasonable and sounds sincere: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responds to him by outlining a number of the commandments. His response was that he had kept all these from his youth.
I wonder if this guy was attempting to evoke an affirmation from Jesus for all his years of law keeping. Maybe he was trying to impress his friends how religious and good he really was. I’m not sure of his motive, but it is certain he was trusting more in what he had done than in Jesus.
The Lord gave him one more command that revealed another area of misplaced trust in this young man’s life: “Go sell what you have and give to the poor. Then you can follow Me.” His money and possessions were actually hindering him from following Jesus because that was where his trust was. His stuff was his treasure, not Jesus.
This man’s trust was in two things: what he had done right and what he owned. That was his security. Jesus was trying to help him move his treasure into something eternal and unchanging. His trust in all the good deeds he had done kept him from receiving eternal life. His trust in his money and stuff kept him from becoming a disciple and following Jesus completely.
When it comes to money and possessions, it is easy to get lulled into trusting that more than God. What helps me stay out of this trap is to treat my stuff and money as a steward, rather than an owner. As a steward, it is my responsibility to check with the owner – God – about how He wants His things managed.
As an owner, I can check with God by praying a little bit about it, but then I go ahead and do whatever I want with the money and possessions in my care no matter what the Lord’s desires are. If I am the steward, my trust remains in Him and I only do what He instructs me to do with these things.
Here is the question I want you to ask yourself today: “Where is your trust? Are you trusting in what you have done – either right or wrong – or in what He has done on your behalf? Is your trust and security in your savings account, your possessions, and your IRA or in Jesus? Your answer will determine your freedom and promotion in the kingdom.