At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
We had a moving sale over the weekend. While we had hoped to be down to much less furniture than when the weekend began, it seemed nobody was in the market for what we were selling. So our house is still furnished. Not exactly a bad thing- I was wondering how the whole “no kitchen table” thing was going to work, for three to four more weeks. As we went through the weekend, I thought a lot about the situations people find themselves in, that require them to sell much (or all) that they have.
I think of people who are forced to sell all they own, to pay for something unforeseen, or as a consequence of foolish financial choices. How hard that must be- to have it all taken away.
Then there are the saints among us, who willingly and completely shed all these material trappings, to go overseas, or work with those less privileged, devoting their entire lives and incomes to ministry.
I don’t think Jesus calls every one of us to do the latter, to get rid of everything. The above verses are challenging, nonetheless. We are combining households with Luke’s mom, so letting go of stuff we won’t be needing anyway isn’t going to be difficult. Putting out our furniture in a yard sale and skimming down on our material goods doesn’t make our family feel pinched in any way. We have “much wealth” as Americans. It is humbling to realize how little we do ever suffer, or lack anything. Mulling all this over last weekend has given me a renewed focus on keeping things simple, in case the call ever does come to strip down to barer bones. My hope is that I am never too surrounded by my wealth to hear Jesus’ plea in the poor around me. How truly pointless this life would be if I, like this man, “went away sad”.