This week's memory verse:
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." -- Hebrews 11:6
Being rich...it's something that many of us claim we wish we could be, or at least some of us wish we had more money than we do right now. We are fascinated by the "lifestyles of the rich and famous" and spend hours watching how the "real" housewives live. Why? I think it's only natural to want MORE... what if the MORE that will really satisfies us has NOTHING to do with money???
Have you heard the saying "it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven." Hmmmm...what a curious thought. It was Jesus who said this in Matthew 19:24. He said it because he had just had an encounter with a wealthy man who wanted to know how to obtain everlasting life. Jesus told him he had to sell what he owned and give it to the poor...the man sadly walked away because he couldn't do it. Why couldn't he do it?Don't you think when you have wealth, or at least comfort in your finances, you just don't want to think about what life would be like without it? It's scary to think of living life without the comforts that wealth brings you.
I have friends who go to Haiti. One comment I hear often from them is how HAPPY the Haitian people seem. They have NOTHING!!!! Not even the things that we so greatly take for granted, like food, water, a sturdy shelter. But they are happy! I have never witnessed this for myself (maybe I will someday) but don't you think they can be happy because they never had wealth to begin with...they don't have tv to make them see what others have and want it? When you don't have it and don't know any better, it's easier to be content with what you have.But, when you have it, or SEE others have it, it is harder to think about life without. It's harder because we are relying on our own human-ness at that point. Jesus story goes on...the disciples saw the whole thing with the rich man walking away and Jesus explaining it. Their human-ness shows through as they started worrying about what this means...for them. They said...if a rich man can't get to heaven, what hope is there for us? Again, they were putting more measure on being rich.
Jesus replied to them that on your own, getting to heaven is impossible...for ANYONE...rich or poor. But WITH GOD, all things are possible! If you trust and believe in God, riches make no difference!
Peter and the disciples then did another very human thing, they compared themselves to the rich man...well, WE'VE given up every thing to follow you...what does that mean for us?While Jesus didn't concentrate on the comparison, he did give the disciples (and us!) a promise and a glimpse of heaven. He said that those who follow him will rule along side of him in heaven and be rewarded 100 times over!
It doesn't matter the riches we have here on earth, or the things we lose here on earth. We will be rewarded and have great JOY in heaven IF we follow Christ and do as he taught us.
I don't know about you, but finances are always an issue for me. I never seem to have enough...I live pay check to pay check most of the time. BUT, I need to remember that I am still pretty comfortable. And, if I continue following the lead of Jesus and be helpful to others, showing kindness, believing in God and leaning on the hope that comes from that faith...I will be rewarded in heaven... There it won't matter how much money I had on earth!
Sometimes the stuff we read and study and learn from God's word seems too good to be true...but, Dear Lord, remind us to remember that with you, EVERYTHING is possible! Thank you for reminders of this from time to time. Help us to cling to your eternal glory and the the hope that faith in you brings us! Amen.