Our men's group this morning discussed Luke 18:18-30 in regards to our relationship with money, and it turned out to be a rema word discussion tying into the Release series at Bay Area Fellowship.
What does Jesus really ask the rich man to give up in order to have treasure in heaven? What does Jesus ask any of us to release to Him? The answer is anything that keeps us from loving God first, more than anything else.
The rich man loved the wealth he amassed so much that he would rather hold on to that wealth than to be in God's kingdom forever. In Luke 17:33, Jesus says to us that whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. The rich man in Luke 18:18-30 is a tragic parable of a man who seemed to have it all. Jesus points out that this man of stature, although was a good man and lived according to the Ten Commandments, lacked one thing. He did not love God more than all his worldly stuff. Because of that, he was not able to receive the blessings that God had in store for him.
Many of us are owned by our worldly "stuff". We cling to our worries that there won't be enough. We pursue wealth with great fervor, or maybe it's a special car, a vacation, or some other obsession or a sinful pleasure. Would we be willing to give it up for God's kingdom?
I'm not saying that God wants us to be broke and poor. No, Jesus tells us throughout the New Testament to take care of the sick, the poor, the widows and orphans. We do that from an overflow of abundance that God provides us. I'm also not saying that we should live Spartan lifestyles either, because King Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 "when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God."
What's my point? Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And, the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. ALL the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:37-40, Deuteronomy 6:5)
Be willing to let go of everything to grasp onto His love for you. When our time on this earth is over, we can't take our 401k with us or that mint condition Mark McGwire Olympic baseball card, but we can find ourselves in an eternity in God's presence.