Can I Love My Stuff Too Much?
The short answer—yes.
I know the term “rich” is relative. It depends on how much money you have. Some have more and some have less.
We are all “poor” when we compare what we have to the three richest men in the world [Bill Gates at 86.6 billion, Carlos Slim at 71.3 billion and Warren Buffet at 70.1 billion] but do we have enough?
We listen to the video of Pastor Chan on Chapter 7 and we know he is right. We need to give of what we have to those less fortunate.
He says go to the concordance and look up “rich” and I did. I have a Strong’s Concordance and the print is small. However, I found about 80 references to rich in the Bible.
I skipped the Old Testament and went on to the New Testament and I quickly ran into some of Jesus’s most famous sayings about wealth. Matthew 19: 16-24 tells the famous story of the rich young man who wants eternal life and of course he learns that his wealth is going to get in the way. Jesus tells him some commandments and he is ok with those and then Jesus says “go, sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.” The rich young man goes away sad because Jesus has asked too much.
You are also familiar with Mark 12: 41-44, the widow and her coin. The rich people threw large amounts into the offering but the widow threw in two small copper coins. You know what Jesus told the Disciples, that this woman gave out of her poverty; the rich gave out of their largess.
Luke 12:16-21 recounts the story of the rich man who had a bumper crop and his solution was to build more barns to store his overflow. Jesus says that “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The real goal of a man is to be rich toward God, not toward man. The rich man is not preparing for the time when his life will be demanded of him. He wants to build barns and Jesus says that God would call him a fool.
We could go on and on but these are just three instances where the message is that we should not focus on what we own. The accumulation of great wealth can be a stumbling block for the Christian life. We may focus on the money we need more than God.
And again, do we have enough?
Pastor Chan speaks of our sharing our blessings with others less fortunate and again we go to Luke Chapter 14 as we explore the idea of rich. Jesus has people at the table with Him and one says “blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replies with the story of the rich man who serves a banquet for his well-to-do friends. None can come. One has bought a piece of property and must go see it. One has just bought oxen and has to try them out. Yet another has just been married and cannot come due to the matrimony.
In short, no one really appreciated the invitation.
The man who arranged the banquet opens it to the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.
He says to his servants “Not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”
Who appreciated the invitation? The people who had nothing.
Who will go to heaven? The rich man who is willing to part with his possessions.
Who will experience God’s blessing? The woman who offers up her last two coins.
Who will be prepared when his life is demanded of him?
Hopefully us…because we really have enough.