Money and courage

10 February 2014

In more than one place, Jesus gave examples and parables that i believe, speak into how we should view our life and the resources entrusted to us.

There was once a rich young man who asked Jesus how he could inherit eternal life. The young man exclaimed he had kept all the commandments that Jesus had listed, but when Jesus asked him to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor and follow Him, the young man could only decline the offer.  The scriptures say the young man went away “sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

In another place, Jesus gave parables about the Kingdom of God. He said “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.” “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”

I believe Jesus is not necessarily asking us to sell everything we own now to give to the poor (although there may be specific instances where He may do so), but He is illustrating something very profound about the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus repeated over and over again the same teachings about money and God in different ways because He knew this would be one of the hardest lessons to learn. That what we receive as a result of what we give up for the Kingdom of God is ultimately of far greater value – beyond compare.

I often wonder why Jesus repeated to his disciples three or even more times that He would be delivered into the hands of his accusers and ultimately be put to death. Why the repetition? I can think of one simple answer, because the disciples were not listening or wanting to understand or accept the reality that Jesus was speaking into. I noticed no one asked Jesus why or what that meant. One disciple did the opposite and dared to tell Jesus to stop saying it and that it should not happen – but that disciple was severely rebuked by Jesus. If only the disciples listened and even asked Jesus for more understanding about this hard saying, i believe understanding would have been given to them (and spared them the terror and fear when Jesus was arrested and crucified).

So i believe that when Jesus repeated teachings about resources, money and the giving up of things for the Kingdom of God – he was repeating it also because He knew it was going to be hard for us to hear such things. It is very very very hard for me. But Jesus also said that my return will be beyond anything i could imagine. Perhaps not in this life, but definitely in the life to come.  It is difficult though for me to imagine a life after this and i find it much more convenient and easier to just think about my life here and now – just in the same way the disciples didn’t want to think about Jesus dying – even when Jesus told them that He will be raised again. It’s a familiar habit to keep our eyes focused on life here and now, but Jesus asks us to focus on the life to come.

If it is difficult, at least i am comforted that Jesus expected it to be so, and had therefore repeated it so many times and allowed me to know there is a reward. But i also think that i need to ask Jesus for courage to embrace this simple but hard truth. Just as how i believe the disciples needed courage to accept the truth about what Jesus was telling them about His imminent death, i believe i need help here as well.  I believe Jesus is waiting for me to ask Him to give me this courage so that i can walk by it without fear.

Lord Jesus, I thank you for giving me the precious words of the Kingdom of Heaven, for revealing the secrets of the Kingdom and teaching me to walk in them. I hear and read about them so often, but i lack the courage sometimes to walk in it. I now ask for Your courage Lord, the courage it took you even when you were in the garden of Gethsemane. I need Your courage to embrace this truth and all the truth you speak to me through scripture. And with this courage Lord, I pray that i will walk boldly in You and shine for Your glory.

 

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