Read Matthew 19:16-30.I don't believe it is a coincidence that in the three gospels that sight this passage, all three follow the "little children" passage. Jesus has just said that the "kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" -- little children. Now a rich young man wants to know how to enter heaven but doesn't like the cost. He has built up a position of wealth and leadership that have become too valuable to him to let go of. He has chosen earth's temporary over heaven's eternal for a few pieces of gold and a little power.
"But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first." NIV
The glitter of this world is an overwhelming enticement for so many -- especially in the U.S. We place such a high value on possessions and positions that we lose perspective on what is right and wrong. We, as a society, will lie, steal, and cheat to keep what we have and to gain more. Jesus is saying that the distance from this point to a submissive, humble heart is very difficult to achieve. We must surrender these man-made things for the humility that He desires. Possessions and power give us a false sense of control and autonomy when God wants us to be completely dependent on Him.
Does this mean we are all to be poor to enter the kingdom? No, but we mustn't rely on our wealth. Jesus does say that "with God all things are possible." Children depend on their parents to supply all their needs. In the same way God wants us to be dependent on Him not on the wealth we can accumulate.
When the "renewal of all things" happens, where do I want to be found -- surrounded by my external mounds of wealth or filled with the wealth of the ages through Jesus Christ?
- What was Job's priority when it came to wealth and possession? How was He rewarded?
- In a concordance, look up the words, "possessions" and "wealth." What other passages do you find and what do you learn from them?
- Sit down and honestly ask yourself this question, What would I do if I lost all my possessions and power today? Who would I be in such a stripped-down position? Would I become more dependent on God or would I become bitter and curse Him?
- How can we be more dependent on God and less dependent on our things, money, and power?