Sunday, November 24, 2013

Another Rich Man; Another Challenge

Again this week, the third time in four weeks, the Gospel lesson includes a “certain” rich man. As in other weeks, the rich man thought he knew what was important in life. Now, for the third time we hear the words of Christ, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18.27) In each of the three lessons (Luke 16.19-31, Luke 12, 16-21, Luke 18.18-27) wealth is a stumbling block to heaven. In each case, it seems the rich man desires salvation, but is instead tormented because he cannot look beyond his wealth.

The Lord knows our struggles and He knows our limitations. But beyond everything else, He knows our heart. We can say with our lips, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18.18), but unless our hearts are tuned toward God, we will turn away, choosing our wealth over salvation. The rich man obeyed all the rules since he was a young boy, but Jesus said to him, “’You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.’ But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.” (Luke 18.22)

It wasn’t enough that the rich man obeyed the commandments because his heart was selfish. It makes you think about your life, or the life of the Church. We can obey all the commandments of God and the Church, but if our heart is cold toward the needs of others, we will turn away from God sorrowful. God doesn’t desire our obedience, He desires our love. Where is your heart?

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