A little interlude in my journey through Matthew 5 and 6 to look at Matthew 19:16-30:
What an important scripture this is for those of us in the west. So few of us are anything but the rich man, and how we respond to what Jesus says here changes the course of our lives.
In the past I always took this passage to be about how much money you give and possibly how much time. But it speaks much deeper than that. Why is it hard for the rich person to enter heaven you might ask.
I wonder how many people would struggle so deeply with pornography if it were not so readily available to buy with our surplus money or access on our TV or home computer, laptop and iphone. Or who would choose shopping for clothes to bolster our identity and sense of well being if we didn’t have the money to spend on clothes or the time not at work to watch the zillion self improvement programmes?
These are challenges for the rich.
Of course the poor are not immune, and all humans have many temptations luring them away from the heart of Jesus and the simple desire to submit all things to Him, including our possessions and self image.
In the meantime I am challenged each day to lay down all i have in the service of Jesus. Because although the letter of the law may be to actually sell all your possessions and give them to the poor, the spirit of what Jesus is saying, I believe, is that in our hearts we give over all our lives to him, to do with as he chooses. Yes that includes my money, but it’s not much use to Him if I don’t deliver with it, my heart.