God will turn things on its head. This is certain to me. It is a standard theme throughout scripture. The rich will become poor, the ones with power will have little power, the poor will be raised up. So it is in the prophets, and in the gospels, especially Mark.
Today this theme takes the form of the rich young man who comes to Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. After telling him a litany of commandments, which he declares he has followed, Jesus answers with, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me”
Unable to do so, the rich young man leaves grieving.
In Job and Proverbs and many other places in Scripture we find that wealth jeopardizes spiritual health and is looked at with much disdain. This may come as a great shock to many Americans who strive for money and power.
Our God is a God of justice. The psalms declare time and time again that those who flaunt God’s law will get their just reward. In order to find God’s blessing, one must have priorities straight, putting people first.
At other points in scripture we see how great wealth can be a blessing and a vehicle of God’s grace or God’s wrath, but this is not the message we get from Jesus. He is emphatic that money corrupts spiritual health. He demands that our priority must be to follow him. All else, it seems, is secondary.
How can we live into such words? Where is the challenge for our spiritual health in the midst of plenty? How can God use us to build up treasure in heaven?