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Wealth and Honour

Wealth and Honour

Wealth and honour go hand in hand. Wealthy people expect to be honoured by the offer of positions on boards or organisations. There are many extremely wealthy people in Australia and yet less than one per cent of these are generous in giving to charities and other worthwhile organisations. This highlights the power, greed and selfishness that being wealthy can bring.

About half of Jesus’ parables involve money in some way. This reflects the importance of money and business for Jesus’ hearers. Jesus tried to warn about the insidious effect of money in his teachings, but he did not reject the use of coinage. He paid his Temple tax (Matt.17:24-27) and encouraged payment of secular taxes (Matt. 22:29-22)

In the Gospel reading to-day Jesus does not imply that all Christ’s followers must become penniless. He is speaking to one man, not all, and in this case the man’s possessions kept him from becoming a disciple.  His great wealth prevented him from obeying Jesus. He could not see that the ‘Treasure in Heaven’ that awaited him was worth anything on earth. The gift of eternal life and salvation.  The giving away of his wealth would have removed the obstacle that kept him from trusting Jesus.

A reminder for us that anything that takes first place in our lives – the place meant for God – must go.

Mark 10:17-31                       

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard 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 someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” 28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

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