Great wealth

A relative recently visited the Netherlands for business. He told us that the country appeared to be very affluent and very liberal. Many churches were re-purposed and there didn’t seem to be many signs of active Christianity in the areas he visited. He also said it was very different from South Africa because he never saw anything close to the poverty that exists here. I thought about what he had said and it made me think of the rich young man who asked Jesus what good things he had to to in order to get eternal life.
Matthew 19:21-22, Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
I believe that when Jesus spoke of selling everything He didn’t necessarily mean it literally, although that probably would be the ideal. We need to be disassociated emotionally from our possessions. We shouldn’t allow money and stuff to have a hold on us. They should be a means to an end and not the centre of our existence. The Ten Commandments starts off with saying that we shouldn’t have any other gods before God.
We are all spirits who have a soul and are housed in a body. The part of us that is temporary and is going to perish when we die, is the physical part, our body. Yet we often set more store by physical things than by spiritual things. We forget that the physical is fleeting and the spiritual is eternal. We allow possessions and money to become our gods.
Physical things determine our character.
Proverbs 23:7, for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.
Luke 6:45, The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Matthew 6:21, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We have to start to realize that we are merely stewards of our possessions. We are going to have to choose what is really important to us. God or things. Choosing God always comes at a price. The world doesn’t have much good to say about and to followers of Jesus. And if we don’t have all the trappings of the world and people with lots of money seem to be much better off than we are, we need to take heed of the following verses:
1 Peter 4:14-19, If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
There is nothing wrong with being rich and having nice things, but, if we look at the wealth of the world and all the things people have who are living far away from God, we must not envy them or become despondent at our own situations because having earthly goods is not what life is all about. Life is about loving God and living a life that can honour Jesus and the great sacrifice He made for us.

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