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Wednesday: Mission to the Rich — 11 Comments

  1. Today's lesson is not really about the mission to the rich but rather to the selfish. I don't know a lot of very rich people but the ones I know well enough to say hello to have to put up with a lot of disinformation about how they came into money. There is always that suspicion from the rest of us that they have been into shady deals and have taken people for a ride to get their money. I also know that some of these folk are generous with their money but they don't make a big noise about it. They just do it.

    This brings me to the big issue that those of us who profess to follow Christ sometimes let stereotypes determine our relationship with others. The really notable thing is that Jesus mixed with both the rich and poor and had the same message for both. Anything that puts a barrier between us and Jesus needs to be put aside. And that means anything we take pride in. Possessions, position, power, preaching ability, number of Facebook followers, and even display of humility, if they obscure our view of Jesus are "riches that should be given to the poor", as we follow Jesus.

    While the story of the rich young ruler specifically addresses materialism, its lessons extend to all of us, regardless of our financial status. It reminds us that true riches are found not in material possessions but in our relationship with God, our inner contentment, our willingness to serve others, and our humility before Him. Bard.AI in conversation with Maurice

  2. I don't know a lot of wealthy people excepted people who are Christians that worked hard in life to get where there at. This lesson is about which is greator, your love for God or the things of this world. This lesson convicts me of holding something/money or someone of more valuable than the value I should have for God, which is greator?

    Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

    Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

    If I love my wife or children more the stranger whos with in my gates is pretty much a hypocrite if I call myself a Christian. I should put those of stranger in my gates and the needy, orphans, poor, or widows more priority 1st than of my house hold. Like Abraham.

  3. It is my understanding that the eye of the needle was a gait in Jerusalem that was used after the main gaits were closed. This gait would allow entry into the city but only after a camel was unloaded. This was for security reasons. Today we might say it would be easier for a rich man to go through airport security than to enter the Kingdom of God.

    I am left to ask myself if I could only have a small carry on bag to take to heaven... what / who would I like to take with me, and what would I be willing to leave behind?

  4. Money does not buy happiness or love; it can't buy peace. When will we learn that the best things in life are unpayable? Can you calculate how much it is worth being alive? Most of us are 'running' for survival and accumulating, which means working most of our time! At least, may we work doing activities that push our minds and give us satisfaction, fulfillment, and purpose. For as Solomon said, "All is vanity!" And in the end, we are all going to die. But if we die for Christ, we'll live for eternity.

  5. It is my understanding that there is more than one interpretation of the eye of the needle. Some people believe that it refers to an ancient gate in Jerusalem. Why would ancient Israel build a a city with a tiny gate so small that a camel their major means of transportation could not go through? The problem stems from the root of the word "gamal" which you can interpret as camel but also as a rope braided with camel's hair. So what you do you unravel the rope and slowly but surely you can put each strand of the rope through the eye of the needle. It would take a long time, it would be challenging but you could do it. This is one of those understandings that if you understand the culture of 1st century Israel, we get to understand what Jesus really meant when he spoke His parables. according to them Jesus was quoting a Jewish proverb meaning something can never be done but counteracting that argument.

    Let's hear what others have to say about it:

    And towards Aramaic:

    Matthew 19:24 Some scholars of the Peshitta and the Greek New Testament claim that in Matthew 19:24 as the Aramaic word for 'camel' is written identically to the word for 'rope.' an error occurred due to the translator's limitations when the original scrolls were being transferred into Greek. This would mean Matthew 19:24 commonly translated as, 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.' Would read 'rope' instead of 'camel'. To support this they claim that rope, is much more in keeping with the imagery of a needle, and that it is probably what Jesus said, and what was originally recorded. Saint Cyril in his commentary on the Holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 18:25) says that camel is the term used by those versed in navigation for a thick rope, thereby both stating that the term camel is the right one and that its meaning is that of a rope and not the animal. This suggests the Lamsa 'rope' translation is the more accurate "meaning" translation and 'camel' is the more accurate 1st century "slang" translation.

    So Aramaic 'gamla' can also be translated camel or rope. But one may make a distinction between ܓܐܡܠܐ (gamlo) and ܓܐܡܠܥ (gamla).

  6. From a mission perspective, there’s a reluctance to reach out to the higher classes because the needs of the poorer classes are often more easily met. In other words, I can give them clothing and food for their physical needs. And many of us feel more comfortable doing that than giving bible studies. The wealthy don’t have the physical needs. They can get sick but certainly don’t have the material needs. They have spiritual needs, and that’s when we feel a little too personal, but that’s what they exactly need. “Much is said concerning our duty to the neglected poor; should not some attention be given to the neglected rich? Many look upon this class as hopeless. Thousands of wealthy men have gone to their graves unwarned. But indifferent as they may appear, many among the rich are soul-burdened.”—Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 210.

  7. Probably many who decided to become followers of Jesus during His time of ministry left behind their life as they knew it. The 12 apostles left their place of work and, following Jesus throughout the land, might not have stayed in close contact with their families. But I am certain that Jesus saw to it that all took care of their responsibilities as sons, fathers, and husbands. So why did Jesus ask this young man to ‘sell what he has and give to the poor in order to have treasures in heaven; inviting him to come, follow Me’?

    I think He wanted to teach him a ‘spiritual’ lesson – learning to discern between ‘works vs. faith’ – between following the Law vs. accepting the Spirit expressed in the ‘Goodness of God’ as the source for meeting our practical needs and leading to life everlasting.

    As far as I know, no one else was ‘required’ to do this before following Jesus, though He points out how difficult it is for a ‘rich’ man to ‘enter the Kingdom of God’ in which the believer lives by faith. Considering the first part of Jesus’ answer: “If you want to be perfect, go sell and give to the poor ….” Matt.19:21 – Jesus seems to acknowledge that the young man was a diligent follower of the Law, and that the young man believed that the Law would be satisfied if he did so.

    Considering this remark, together with letting the young man know that ‘no one is good but God’ – Matt.19:17, Jesus points out that the young man was in need of learning what it means to fulfill the Spirit of the Law. By changing his perspective from relying on his own works and his wealth to be accounted to him as ‘righteousness’, he needed to understand/learn to rely on the Goodness of God which establishes ‘righteousness’ through faith when we have our life in Jesus.

    The young man was challenged to choose between relying for his ‘righteousness’ on sharing ‘riches’ and diligently following the Law so to be considered ‘perfect’, and choosing the Way of Life - receiving 'righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ’, and so enter the 'Kingdom of God'.
    Jesus wanted for the rich young man to form a new relationship with his God which was not based on doing good works, but on the understanding that all we have and are is provided by our loving heavenly Father's Grace.
    All we are asked is to consecrate our life and focus on loving Him with all our heart – so worshipping Him in Spirit and Truth – John4:23-24. .

  8. The passage stopped at vs. 22 but I wish they had encouraged us to read farther and see in vs. 27 "With man this is impossible but not with God". And that to me provides the answer to the young man's story. Selling all his possessions would not have saved him. I Corinthians 13 tells us we can give all we possess to the poor and still be nothing without love. The ruler wanted to do things to be saved and Jesus showed him just what that would mean which was something he couldn't have done. I wish he had said to Jesus, "I can't give up everything - help me to do that". If he had, maybe the story would be different.

    As for Zacchaeus, I don't feel he promised to give half of his possessions to the poor to be saved. He had an encounter with Jesus that changed him and it poured over into his life. His actions were love-motivated.

  9. Jesus did not tell Zaccheaus to sell all his wealth and give it to the poor and then to follow Jesus. Apparently, Zaccheus' heart was right regarding his own wealth and "That wealthy man's," attitude regarding his wealth was not. So then, Jeus, telling the wealthy man to do just that must have been necessary for "that wealthy man," to do what Jesus told him to do for his own souls' salvation.


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