A man approached him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There’s only one who is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.” The man said, “Which ones?” Then Jesus said, “Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Honor your father and mother,[d] and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The young man replied, “I’ve kept all these. What am I still missing?” Jesus said, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away saddened, because he had many possessions (Matthew 19:16-22, Common English Bible).
I am a sucker for a good title. One of my favorites is, Will Jesus Buy Me a Double Wide: Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV. I haven’t read the book (not from lack of trying, I just couldn’t get into it), but I love the title.
Now retired United Methodist Preacher, Dr. Jim Moore is a master of the title. Some of Jim’s great titles include: Yes Lord I Have Sinned But I Have Several Excellent Excuses, If Jesus is Your Co-Pilot, Swap Seats, Daddy is that Story True or Were You Just Preaching? If God Has a Refrigerator You’re Picture is On It, God was Here and I was Out to Lunch and Have You Ever Seen a Hearse Pulling a Trailer plus several more. Some of these I have read and others I haven’t. But, I love the titles.
That last title is one of my favorites. Have You Ever See a Hearse Pulling a Trailer. We collect so much stuff. In American society people who hoard whatever they can get there hands on are becoming more and more common. We have all probably seen on television people who are compulsive hoarders even if you haven’t experienced it in person. You can walk into someone’s house and see stacks of newspapers and magazines with trails in the room to allow you to go from place to place.
The thing is, we gather stuff. We strive to get more stuff. And sometimes our stuff has the greatest place in our life. Our stuff is of central importance. Truth to tell, we would probably like to take it with us but, Have You Ever Seen a Hearse Pulling a Trailer. Point in fact, you can’t take it with you.
The rich young man, in the lesson above, just might be one of those who wants to accumulate a lot of stuff in his lifetime in hopes of figuring out a way to take it with him. I don’t think there is a lot of question that he believes in the old saying, “He Who Dies with the Most Toys Wins.” I have changed that up some. He who dies with the most toys still dies.
How much of the stuff we accumulate do we really need? Beyond that, not only do accumulate more stuff we don’t need, we let it take over the central place in our lives. It seems evident to me that the rich young man had allowed his stuff to take the central place in his life.
If I can see it Jesus sure could. I think that is why he told the guy to sell all he had and give the money to the poor. Jesus knew the place this man’s stuff had in his life and there isn’t enough room for God and our stuff. Jesus wanted him to give up the stuff in order to have a better relationship with God.
Earlier in my life I had little to no respect for Bill Gates, primarily because he owned Microsoft and I have always been bothered by the way the company took care of its business. In more recent years I have come to respect Mr. Gates a great deal. I also respect people like Warren Buffet of Berkshire-Hathaway. These two very wealthy men and several others intend to live their out their lives working to give away the wealth they have accumulated. I don’t know if either is a man of faith or not. I don’t know how they feel about this story. What I do know is, they know you can’t take it with you and they are taking the initiative to get rid of what they have and give the money (or the goods) to people in need. I pray we can find ways to do the same.
How do you live out selling what you have to give to the poor?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved