November 07, 2007


Matthew 19:16-22

"What do I still lack?"
Matthew 19:20


Things are important. We need a place to live. We need food and clothing. That's why money is important.

So it is not necessarily wrong to be rich. The Bible teaches us that "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father" (James 1:17).

Many who followed Jesus remained wealthy. He depended on their hospitality for food and lodging throughout his ministry.

Why, then, did Jesus tell this young man, "Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor ..."?

Jesus' challenge to this young man revealed the inner state of the man's heart.

Wealth and the desire for things can be dangerous. Wealth had taken control of this young man and was blocking him from following the call of God in his life.

Being poor does not automatically make you a disciple. Jesus knew that. He also knew that this man's wealth had become a barrier to following the Lord God completely.

We must not allow anything to hold back our decision to follow the Lord. It could be our money; it could be our stuff; it could be our status or power. It could even be our dream to have any of these things.

Jesus wants all of us-rich, poor, or in-between-to be free to follow him completely.

Lord, many competing desires and needs come our way every day. May your Spirit direct our minds and hearts to keep our priorities straight as we follow you. Amen.<p>&nbsp;</p>

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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