Mark Day 10: Rich Young Ruler

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Gospel of Mark Reading Plan
Day 10 Reading: Mark 10

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
- Mark 10:23 (NIV)

Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me. And what you want to give me is love, unconditional, everlasting love. Amen. – Henri Nouwen

Observation
Mark 10:17-31 A godly man approaches Jesus, asking him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus, moved by the man’s humility and sincerity, looks deeply into his heart. Only one thing stands between him and a saving faith, the man’s dedication to his wealth. Jesus instructs him how to free himself of this idol: 1) sell everything, 2) give it away to the poor, and 3) follow him. The man leaves for home with a heavy heart. He chooses his wealth over God. Jesus reminds the disciples how difficult it will be for the wealthy to know their need of God and to trust God more than their money and possessions.

Application
The timing of this story seems especially profound, given the state of the economy and the start of annual retail circus leading up to Christmas. Will those who are no longer financially secure now seek God differently? Will we express our love to family and friends differently this year? Could the stripping away of false financial security be used of God to save us?

It’s not addition that makes one holy, but subtraction: stripping the illusions, letting go of the pretense, exposing the false self, breaking open the heart and the understanding, not taking my private self too seriously. Conversion is more about unlearning than learning. – Richard Rohr

Saving faith places God first, before all other things. What am I placing first in my life?
My family? My work? My comfort? My agenda? My…

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

There are three conversions necessary:
the conversion of the heart, mind, and the purse.
-Martin Luther

Prayer
Jesus, you love us enough to tell us the truth. We cannot serve two masters. Only one will have our ultimate trust and loyalty. We are far more affluent than we care to admit, especially when we consider global economies. We place our trust in checking accounts, investments, and insurance far more easily than we place our trust in you. The wealth of this world will come and go. You alone are steadfast. We work hard to be prepared, to be secure, yet you alone can save us in the end. Forgive us our shortsightedness and our idolatry. Help us to place our trust and loyalty completely in you. Amen.

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For a terrific blog post by Steve Garnaas-Holmes on this same scripture, click here

For a devotion containing comments on the problems surrounding the Gospel of Health and Wealth, click here

For more quotes on money and its use, click here or click here

For more information on the Gospel of Mark Reading Plan, click here

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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