There is such a thing, you know, as having too much: too much money, too much power, too many possessions, even too much time – if we become bored with it.
It's hard to know, sometimes, when it becomes too much. A good clue is that we lose sight of when and where the reign of God is revealed.
In these next moments, ask God to clarify your view, clear out whatever clouds your vision, and help you to see where God is at work.next >
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 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.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
Mark 10:23-27next >
The disciples are surprised, concerned even, when Jesus makes his declaration about wealth and his kingdom. For their entire lives, they had been told that prosperity was a sign of blessing. The more a person had, the more certain their destiny was rosy.
Jesus messes all that up. His proclamation was one the prophets had already been sharing, but Jesus made it clear: stuff does not buy my Kingdom. In fact, stuff makes it harder to spot my Kingdom in the first place.
Perhaps that's because stuff makes us think we're greater than we are. Maybe it tricks us into imagining that we're shoo-ins for this Kingdom-of-God business. Maybe our mountains of things crowd our vision of the Way.
Whatever the reason, Jesus makes a clear point to his disciples, both then and now. Eternal life is not something you gain by getting. Instead, in the upside-down Kingdom of God, you gain eternal life by giving it all away.
After all, that's what Jesus did for us.
John Woodsnext >
Frustrating Christ, who turns the assumptions of the world upside down, give me the humility to recognize your blessing irrespective of possessions, so that I might live a grateful and giving life. Amen.next >
Go now knowing just how much you are blessed.
Find creative ways to risk yourself for the world God loves.
Seek out ways to be extravagant with your gifts,
Making your life useful in God's service.
John Woods is pastor of music and worship at Northside Baptist Church in Victoria, Texas, where he provides leadership in the areas of music, the arts, worship, and liturgy. When there’s time, John likes cluttering up his Mac, reading Dan Brown, listening to “This American Life,” traveling with his wife Lindsay and son Hudson, and exploring the intersections of music, faith, liturgy, and community.