Sunday, October 14 we looked at the words found in Mark 10:17-31 this is the conversation between Jesus and a rich man. The rich man asked what he must do to inherit eternal life and Jesus first quotes the words from the Ten Commandments and the rich man states happily, I am sure, that he has followed those since his youth. But then Jesus states he has one other thing he needs to do, sell all you have and give it to the poor, then come follow me. Hearing those words the rich man drops his head and walks away sad because he was very wealthy. Too many times this text is read and most of us feel it does not pertain to us for we are not wealthy or rich. Alternatively, we read it and see it as a condemnation of the wealthy and rich. I contend that both of these understandings are not accurate. Let me start with the later concerning a condemnation of the rich. In the text Jesus does not state it is impossible for a rich person to enter Heaven, he states it is difficult. Jesus uses the illustration that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich person to get into heaven. We hear that today and see impossible but to the disciples and others it spoke of difficult but not impossible. You see the eye of a needle was a tight passageway through the mountains. It was not impossible to get a camel through but it was difficult. My contingency is that Jesus was not so much concerned about the man’s wealth as he was the poverty of the rich man’s soul. You see Jesus could tell the man’s wealth meant more to him than anything else, his riches were his center and there was truly no room for God. The rich man wanted a box to check, similar to following the Law, but Jesus asked for a life change. This is why this text is important for all of us, even if we don’t consider ourselves rich, because we all have something that fights for the center of our world, something that leaves little to no room for Jesus. This thing or person or attitude create a wall between God and us, this is what Jesus was pointing out to the rich man. The rich man has a wall of money that prevents his deeper relationship with God. What walls do we have? What do we allow the evil of the world to use to keep us separated from God? To close this sermon recap I am going to share the illustration of Satan’s Beatitudes, see if your wall or walls is found in what the evil of the world see as worthy attitudes.
If the devil were to write his beatitudes, they would probably go something like this:
Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians – they are my best workers.
Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked – I can use them
Blessed are the touchy who stop going to church – they are my missionaries.
Blessed are the troublemakers – they shall be called my children.
Blessed are the complainers – I’m all ears to them.
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Jasper United Methodist Church
85 W Church Street
Jasper, GA. 30143