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Mark 10: 17 – 21

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Not all of what we believe in our Christian walk comes from the teachings of Jesus or from the Bible. We are informed and influenced by what other Christians believe, especially our friends and acquaintances. We are certainly influenced by Christian culture and even things we hear from popular culture. As time moves on, some of those “beliefs” move further and further away from Biblical truth. As this happens, it even becomes harder to see what is in the scripture. I want to share an example of that with you today.

You may be familiar with this passage, but what does it say to you today? There are many thoughts worth pondering. One of the lessons we can take away from this passage is about Jesus financial well-being.

It is popular to paint Jesus as broke and busted. Obviously, if we buy into that misinformation, it will become very hard for us to pray to him about our finances with any faith. How can Jesus help us in our finances if he couldn’t help himself? I don’t generally take advice from people who haven’t succeeded on the path I am travelling. Would you expect me to get cycling advice from someone who hasn’t been on a bike since they were a child? Of course not, and you wouldn’t do that in any area of your life either. Why, then, would I go to Jesus for help and advice on my finances if he spent his years on earth broke? There really is a great deal of evidence to the contrary but just look at this passage today.

The rich, young ruler went to Jesus asking for the secret to eternal life. The actual answer Jesus gave him (look closely and you will see it) was, “Follow me!” There was something in the way of this young man following Jesus though. His wealth was a hindrance to his faith walk. So, Jesus said, sell your possessions, give to the poor and come, follow me. Now, here is the question this presents. If Jesus was broke, why didn’t he have the young man put that wealth in to his own ministry? Do we think Jesus told the man to give his money to the poor and then went to the temple to beg for his own needs.

Here is another brief example. In Matthew 26 we read the story of the woman who poured an entire bottle of expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. No doubt, the apostles complained at the expense and lamented over all they could have done with the money represented by that jar of perfume. However, if they were broke, if Jesus didn’t have the means to pay his staff and feed his team, don’t you think this story would have been different? Surely, this woman was a benefactor of his ministry, as were others. Is this her first and only gift? Did those who followed him not support him. Was he a man of such little faith that he couldn’t appeal to his heavenly father?

There is a romantic version of Jesus being born in poverty and living his entire life in rags, denied the simplest of needs. However, that is all it is, a romanticized version of the real Christ. When he died, the soldiers cast lots for his clothing. They wouldn’t have done that for rags.

It is important that we continuously go back and tie our theology back to the Bible. When we don’t read the Word for ourselves, it is easy to get led down wrong paths. We are very fortunate to have access to the Word. We need to continually refresh our minds to the Word so that we will be well grounded and sure.

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