I have been seeking a new job recently and have had some very promising leads. I am hoping to have a decent pay raise when I take a new position and I have found myself thinking about all the things I will be able to do with this new money; how much better it will make my life; how much safer and more secure I will be. All things I should be relying on God for, not a job.
It is amazing how easily these little bits of sinfulness can slip into our lives; it is no wonder that Martin Luther called the human heart an idol factory and why Jesus said it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is hard for us who have so much to realize how much we need to rely on God for our daily bread.
We Americans, even the poorest of us are in the among the richest in people in the world and because we don’t want for many necessities we don’t think daily about how desperate we are and how much we cannot do ourselves.
Personally, I was looking for this job to be my functional savior against my lack of satisfaction. I am not satisfied in my God and those wonderful things he has given me. Sure, I say how much I am thankful every night when I pray over our meal or with my daughters before bed but the words have a hard time sinking in to my stony heart.
I often talk about the story of the rich young ruler from Matthew 19.
And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:16-26, ESV)
We are so attached to our possessions that although we would deny it with our words our hearts are very much like this rich man. Jesus is pointing out the idol that sat at the altar of this young mans heart and he refused to cast it down. What I find interesting is that the disciples were astonished that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. How often to we assume that material success is a sign of God’s approval? I have heard it when it comes to money and the individual. “God is blessing me with this new car because of my obedience” Applied to churches “They must be doing something right because they have a huge crowd”
Jesus makes it pretty clear here and other places that external circumstances are not a direct indication of God’s approval or disapproval. ” For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45)
This story serves as an example to me and hopefully to us all that our things are never to be more important to us than our Lord. It is not our jobs or our family that ultimately provides they are conduits through which God provides our needs.
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