Riches… ~ The Rev. Deacon Scott Brown, OPI
Mark 10:17-30New International Version (NIV)
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
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.’[a]” 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[b] 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.
Jesus tells us that if we put aside our earthly possessions and follow him then we will be rewarded in the kingdom of God with 100 times as much. Now this does not mean that if we give up one car we will have 100 cars in heaven, nor does it mean that for every house we give away on earth we will get 100 houses in heaven. What He is trying to let us know is that our riches in heaven cannot be measured by dollars and cents, Mercedes or Chevy, or diamonds or emeralds. He is telling us that our rewards will be so wonderful that we cannot compare them to anything on earth. I believe that our rewards will be the eternal experience of the overwhelming love of our creator. There will be no stress there, we will have no sickness, cancer, diabetes, none of the earthly nuisances and bothers that we deal with on a daily basis here. We will walk in peace and tranquility with Jesus, without experiencing traffic jams, bosses that are irritable and cranky all the time. There will be no terrorists’ threats or school massacres. Overwhelming will be the feelings of joy and peace, to the degree that we cannot imagine here on earth. Bliss will be the norm; no stress headaches, no deadlines fast approaching, no such thing as overdrawn bank accounts and bounced checks. These things will all be but a memory. At the moment we enter into the kingdom of God we will be relieved of all sorrow and the weight of the world will be lifted off our shoulders. There will be beautiful soothing music sung by choirs of angels and happiness will abound everywhere. We will have eternal life without any worries or concerns to plague us as we have now. We will be reborn into a place where there is no stress, worries, or cares. So in essence this scripture tell us that when we enter the kingdom of heaven we will be starting our lives anew, fresh, unsoiled by the daily grinds that we experience here on earth today. It will be as if we have been showered in true love and cleansed of all our sins and transgressions. Starting over will be a joyous and wonderful experience that we all should be looking forward to. So when the traffic backs up, or the checking account is overdrawn, the neighbor is being a total jerk, or you have that desire to slap your boss and pour hot coffee down his pants, sit back and rejoice in the knowledge that soon, very soon these will be but distant memories and such things will never happen again for all eternity. One of my favorite classic gospel hymns is Beulah Land. The lyrics describe perfectly the rewards that await us on the other side.
- I’ve reached the land of corn and wine,
And all its riches freely mine;
Here shines undimmed one blissful day,
For all my night has passed away.
O Beulah Land, sweet Beulah Land,
As on thy highest mount I stand,
I look away across the sea,
Where mansions are prepared for me,
And view the shining glory shore,
My heaven, my home forevermore!
- My Savior comes and walks with me,
And sweet communion here have we;
He gently leads me by His hand,
For this is Heaven’s borderland.
- A sweet perfume upon the breeze,
Is borne from ever vernal trees,
And flow’rs that never fading grow
Where streams of life forever flow.
- The zephyrs seem to float to me,
Sweet sounds of Heaven’s melody,
As angels with the white-robed throng
Join in the sweet redemption song.
Read the lyrics and be assured that these wonderful rewards are waiting for you on the other side.