Some things in life may seem like a blessing but can really be a curse. For many who have played the lottery and won, it ruined their lives. Yes, I know that the opposite is also true. For many, it was a blessing. However, there is a good lesson in here. The difference between blessing and curse in winning the lottery is all in the attitude of the person coming in to that much wealth.
Mark 10:25-26 (TNIV)
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
In verse 24, the disciples were amazed when Jesus told them that it would be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom. Verse 26 tells us that the disciples were “even more amazed”. Both these Greek words translated as “amazed” have a deeper meaning of astonished (“thambeo” [tham-beh-o]) and greatly astonished (“ekplesso” [ek-place-so]). You might say they freaked out because what Jesus was saying went against all that they had ever learned and it didn’t make sense to them. So……let’s go into the classroom with Jesus along with the disciples.
First, a little context is in order: In ancient Jewish society (actually, much as it is today in our own society), wealth was thought of a sign of God’s blessing. They felt that wealth came from God and that wealth would bring people closer to God. In this story of the rich young man, the young man must have seemed to the disciples to be the perfect person to enter the kingdom. He was wealthy and was a “good” person. However, upon talking to Jesus, he walked away empty handed. This is why it confused the disciples and why they were “greatly astonished”.
Jesus used a fairly common Jewish proverb that described something impossible and absurd to illustrate why this young man might have a hard time entering the kingdom of God, indeed, the kingdom of heaven. Why it would hard for him to achieve eternal life?
Jesus very often speaks the truth upside down, meaning that very often what we take as truth actually isn’t truth and the opposite actually is true.
Okay, let’s get to the point of what Jesus is saying here. Here is the truth upside down:
The answer to their question, “Who then can be saved?” is: “no one by his or her own effort.” There is no point in trying to be saved because none of us can be saved………except by the grace of God. This young rich man, nor us, can “achieve” eternal life. However, by the Grace of God, we can have eternal life.
Jesus was making the point that the truth is, when we have the advantage of wealth and influence, we often think that we have done it ourselves apart from God. Jesus is telling us that when we see life this way, we often find it difficult to have the attitudes of humility, submission and service to others. How often do wealth and influence represent power, authority and success? Again, the truth is, it is very hard for a self-sufficient person to even realize their need and their powerlessness to save themselves. The same is often true of those who are rich in their talents and skills.
We need Jesus. Is there anything wrong with wealth and influence? No. Not when we accept these things humbly and rely on God, indeed Jesus, for all that we have as well as what we should do with it.
What is true wealth? True wealth, wealth that we can feel secure in and that we can find fulfillment in…….is found in relationships, with Jesus as well as with each other. Seek healing and peace in all of your relationships and you will know what it means to be rich.
Jesus has a lottery He wants you to play….and everyone is a winner that looks closely at these “numbers”:
5. Seeking to apply truth and honesty to our lives
6. Rejecting sin and wrong in any form
7. Surrender to God, indeed, surrender to Jesus
There you have it! Play the Jesus lottery, “1234567”. You will win every time! Play these numbers, turn your heart and your life over to God and you will have eternal life.