People today may be confused just as the disciples were in thinking if anyone could be saved, it would be the rich (Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30). Peter reminded Jesus that they (disciples) have left all to follow Him (Mark v. 28). Jesus assured the disciples that anyone who gives up something valuable for His sake will be repaid many times in life, and shall inherit everlasting life (Mark v. 30). Jesus also warns of continuing persecution, because prosperity more than poverty can dull our spiritual vision. It tends to make us self-sufficient and eager to acquire more of everything except God.
The same thing can happen in our churches once we become successful in numbers, programs, and buildings. We can easily become self-sufficient and less sensitive to our need for God. This leads us to concentrate on self-preservation rather than thankfulness and service to God. The Old Testament is filled with wealth and prosperity, beginning with Adam who lived in a perfect world with a perfect relationship with God. But he fell to deception (Genesis 3). Noah, after the flood, was prosperous and life was easy until he shamed himself and cursed his son (Genesis 9). David ruled well economically then committed adultery and murder (II Samuel 22). Solomon truly had it all: power, wealth, fame and wisdom. But he loved his pagan idolatrous wives, which was his downfall (1 Kings 11).
There is one similarity between the rich and the poor. When they die, they leave all they owned here on earth. At the moment of death, all of us will face the reality that both rich and poor are naked and empty-handed before God. The only riches we have at that time are those we have already invested in our eternal heritage. At the time of death, each of us will wish we had invested less on earthly things, where we must leave it, and more in heavenly things (like being a servant to others—only our works will follow us) where we will retain it forever.
My weekly prayer is that the reader of this commentary becomes spiritually inspired of God.
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