10/12/2015

The rich man and heaven. Sermon based on Mark 10

On Sunday, we talked about the rich man who asked Jesus about eternal life. The answer wasn't what he wanted to hear. The rich man lived in material wealth. He would have owned fields, jewels, camels and you name it. Our modern day term for his belongings is "stuff" and he was very proud of what he owned.

Historic Methodist Church
Methodist Church: Cades Cove
Some of his wealth that he accumulated may have been heirloom pieces from previous family, or some of his wealth may have been the result of his own work. We aren't told that. We are just told that he had a lot of "stuff".

He went to Jesus asking about eternal life and walked away empty. Jesus told him that even though the rich man had many material possessions, that he lacked one thing. I can imagine the rich ruler thinking "What is it so that I may buy it?" But, Jesus told him to sell what he had and then, to come back and follow him.

Instead, the rich young ruler decided the price was too great and walked away from eternal life.  He simply loved his equivalent of sparkly rubies, diamonds and expensive china to give them up. Eternal life ceased to matter to him when he was called upon to act on his faith. It wasn't the work of giving away his possessions that would allow him to enter the kingdom. It was that act would be an outward sign of his faith. Instead, his desire to keep what he owned demonstrated his lack of faith. And it was that lack, that would condemn him.

Are we guilty of doing the same? Do we sometimes let our "stuff" (cars, jewelry, MP3 players, tablets, crowded schedules and other signs of wealth.) get in the way of our relationship with Jesus? Can we overcome it?

This free podcast may help answer those questions. The Rich Man and Salvation

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