Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Asset or Liability in the Kingdom

Continuing my series on the secrets of the kingdom. Earthly kingdoms are interested in wealth. The more money you have the more power and influence you have in this world. Money and possessions are real assets in our society. In many ways money rules. Those with money are king.

But when Jesus talks about money and His kingdom in Matthew 19 we see the opposite.

The stage is set in Matt 19:16-22 (HCSB)
"Just then someone came up and asked Him, “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?”
“Why do you ask Me about what is good?” He said to him. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he asked Him. Jesus answered:
Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself.
“I have kept all these,” the young man told Him. “What do I still lack?”
“If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”
When the young man heard that command, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

Was Jesus pushing this rich young ruler on the issue of "loving your neighbor as yourself"? The young ruler claims to be following these commandments, but to what degree? Selling his possessions and giving them to the poor could be evidence of loving his neighbor as himself... but this was too much to ask of this rich young ruler.

Jesus goes on in Matt 19:23-30 (HCSB)
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you: It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.
When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?”
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Then Peter responded to Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You. So what will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “I assure you: In the Messianic Age, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children, or fields because of My name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
I'm with the disciples, I don't fully understand what Jesus is saying here.

But it seems Jesus is saying that money and possessions are not assets in His kingdom.

It seems that money and possessions are more like liabilities in the kingdom of God.

Those with the most are in a way those with the least.

Here are a few other related verses:

Matthew 5:3 (NIV)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 6:20 (NIV)
"Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."
Matthew 11:5 (NIV)
"The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor."
Luke 4:18 (NIV)
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
Luke 7:22 (NIV)
So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
James 2:5 (NIV)
"Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?"
This logic seems upside-down to what we are used to. It doesn't make complete sense to me. I'd love you hear your thoughts.

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