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“Making the Impossible Possible” In this encounter, Jesus is saying that there is something radically wrong with allof us—but money has particular power to blind us to it. In fact, it has so much power to deceive us of our true spiritual state that we need a gracious, miraculous intervention from God to see it. It’s impossible without God, without a miracle. Without grace. Consider how Jesus counseled this young man. Yes, this man needed counseling, though on the outside he looked completely pulled together. He was rich, he was young, and he was probably good-looking—it’s hard to be rich and young and not be good-looking. But he didn’t have it all together. If he had, he would never have come to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Any devout Jew would have known the answer to this question. The rabbis were always posing this question in their writings and their teachings. And their answer was always the same; there were no differing schools of thought on this one. The answer was “Obey the statutes of God and avoid all sin.” The young man would have known this answer. Why then was he asking Jesus? Jesus’s perceptive statement “One thing you lack” allows us to capture the gist of the young man’s struggle. The man was saying, “You know what, I’ve done everything right: I’ve been successful economically, successful socially, successful morally, successful religiously. I’ve heard you’re a good rabbi, and I’m wondering if there’s something I’ve missed, something I’m overlooking. I sense that something is lacking.” Of course he was missing something. Because anyone who counts on what they are doing to get eternal life will find that, in spite of everything they’ve accomplished, there’s an emptiness, an insecurity, a doubt. Something is bound to be missing. How can anyone ever know whether they are good enough? How can you pursue a successful career and not succumb to the trap wealth creates? What are some ways the gospel has changed—or could change—your attitude about money?
Mark 10:17-31 (ESV) -
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”