A few weeks ago we looked at the story of the Rich Young Ruler and answered the question what does it say? In this second part we want to explore answers to the question – what does it mean? Next week we will answer the question, how does it apply to me?
What Is the Meaning Of the Story? The Rich Ruler
This story is primarily about allegiances.
Who does this man follow?
Though he purports (through words and conduct) to follow God, his actions (walked away sad) make it clear that he followed wealth.
This man gives himself over to the discipleship of wealth.
Jesus teaches that wealth and allegiance are hard to separate. This passage could have taken any vice and talked about a person who was not willing to sacrifice ‘that’ for the kingdom of God.
Money, however, is used (I believe) because all around the world it successfully competes for our allegiance. Trusting in money is only exterminated by releasing yourself from its clutches. This is most often done by giving. The responsible Christians asks herself; What am I more committed to than God? What must be done to move my full allegiance back to God?
Are you willing do take drastic action to fully submit to God?
This passage forces us to consider the source of our wealth.
Do you stand on your own? Are you the self made man or woman? Here is a description of the self made man or woman: they are hard working and self dependent. Give them a problem and they will solve it. They are responsible and calculated. Though these attributes might make you wealthy, they are also all attributes that make it hard to let go and trust God.
This story is descriptive, though not necessarily prescriptive.
There are morals and lessons to be learned, not (necessarily) actions to be followed (unless you yourself identify with the rich ruler).
God was pleased when Zaccheus gave 1/2. Yet from this man he demanded everything. This is God’s double standard. His requirements are unique to the condition of your heart. From one person God might ask one sacrifice, and from another he might ask another sacrifice.
In Luke 9:57-62 we have three would-be disciples. For each of these men, it is something different that keeps them from discipleship. If money is what keeps us from fully following Jesus we must continue to release ourselves from the clutches of wealth until we are following Jesus, not mammon.
The Bible Expository Commentary says :
”Money is a marvelous servant but a terrible master”
In our third and final post we will provide some tools to help you answer the question – how does this apply to me? We’ll answer the question – must I sell everything to follow Jesus?
How do you know if you trust God more or money more? What do you believe is the main message of the story of the Rich Young Man?