Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Matthew 19:16-30 "Wealth and Humility"

Read Matthew 19:16-30.

"But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first." NIV
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.

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?

Further Thoughts:
  1. What was Job's priority when it came to wealth and possession? How was He rewarded?
  2. In a concordance, look up the words, "possessions" and "wealth." What other passages do you find and what do you learn from them?
  3. 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?
  4. How can we be more dependent on God and less dependent on our things, money, and power?


  1. I think this passage is highly misconstrued, we here on earth serving God, do not exist to be poor and rechid. We do not serve God well if we allow ourselves to be poor, both morally and physically. In order to achieve joy and the abundance of our lives here, we must do so following the laws of the universe and God!
    We are material beings living in a material world, but we also possess the power of our creator to help make it joyful and abundant.
    In this world it cannot be accomplished at this time with-out the acquisition of wealth. That means money! Money is the representation of our individual compensation for providing services equal to what is paid to us. The more we have gained in wealth(money) from this process, the more we have to spend in time and posessions that give us Joy! God is happy when we are Joyful.
    The more welath I have, the better able I am to help others.
    How many can we help if we too are destitute?

  2. In the post, I am not saying that we have to be destitute or poor. I'm not even saying that we can't have wealth. The point is the attitude of the heart. If our only goal is to achieve wealth and possessions, we are missing the point. Christ was not wealthy. In fact, He had nothing. I would say physically, He was the poorest person I know. But look at all He accomplished for the kingdom of God.

    Yes, we can use money to help others and I hope many are. But I don't think that is the normal motivation for people to gain wealth. True joy comes from living in the center of God's will and serving people in His name, not from wealth and possessions. Those only provide temporary and fleeting happiness.

    As long as we maintain a balance of money and giving, our hearts can remain focused on God's purposes for money and wealth rather than on our own selfish desires and happiness.