How has your financial status, whether strong or weak, affected your faith? In Matthew 19:16-30, we're told the story of a wealthy and powerful man who approached Jesus. He was religious, yet he had not experienced the inner peace that comes from knowing Christ. He was restless. He was discontented. So, the man asks Jesus, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" (Matthew 19:16).
Money can so easily become our god that we never really truly follow Christ.
With that question the man was hoping to be able to find out how to earn or buy his way into heaven. What he was really asking was, "How much will it cost me?" He wanted to know if there was some secret formula to eternal life. Jesus responded, "Why do you ask me about what is good? . . . There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:17). The man claimed he had followed all the required commandments.
Then he asked Jesus, "What do I still lack?" (Matthew 19:20). This time, the man received an answer he could not follow. "Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.' When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth" (Matthew 19:21-22). Even though the man had convinced himself he was perfect, he was a sinner.
This man thought he was living a life for God, but in reality it was his money that he worshiped. Jesus warned, "Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to 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 someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:23-24). Jesus was not saying money itself prohibits us from entering heaven. He was cautioning that money can so easily become our god that we never really truly follow Christ.
Prayer: God, help me to be careful that money does not become my god. Forgive me for the times I become consumed with the pursuit of more money, and help me to instead be consumed with following You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money" (Matthew 6:24).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon What Did Jesus Mean?, Part 3: LISTEN NOW