Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Treasures In Heaven.5

"How nearly impossible it is for those who love money to
enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man
to enter into the kingdom. And yet, what is impossible for man is made possible by God’s mercy."
--Jesus

I like watching "Shark Tank" to see how wealthy people think. Not that they think correctly mind you, but as far as the way the frenzied and notoriously ambitious strive to climb the top of a sandhill for which they cannot remain long, is, from an eternal perspective, educational.

Annual Incomes of some famous people:


  • Barack Obama.............$1,728,000
  • Beyonce Knowles.......$87,000,000
  • Oprah Winfrey........ $315,000,000
  • Tom Hanks...............$45,000,000
  • Will Smith.................$29,000,000
  • Angelina Jolie............$23,500,000
  • Vladimir Putin................$175,000
  • JK Rowling................$10,000,000
  • 50 cent.....................$20,000,000
(borrowed from http://www.mywage.org/zimbabwe/main/vip-celebrities-pay)


Now let's s
uppose Will Smith, troubled by the emptiness and futility of the things he's chased, decides to explore a less transitory lifestyle and focus rather on the eternal. Imagine this conversation between him and the Eternal One:

Will: "Jesus, you are a good person from what I've heard. Surely you must have information about what I must do to have a life that has meaning and purpose beyond the few short years I have on this planet?"

Jesus: "Why do you call me Good? What is there about goodness that is attractive to you? There is only One who is Good. If you think I'm good, you really should know Him. But if you would enter into life, keep the commandments."

Will: 'Which ones?'

Jesus: 'Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.'

Will: 'My momma raised me right. All these things I've tried to be careful not to violate; in fact I've thought because I'm a pretty decent guy that must be why God has blessed me with so much. But I have a nagging feeling there is more; what do I lack?'

Jesus: 'I know you have given some energy to the keeping of those things you can; and the commandments have had their desired effect: causing you to hunger for a righteousness greater than yourself. If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'

Will: 'Whoa; isn't that asking a lot? I have a lot of stuff..."

Jesus: "I know you are not a "sellout", at least, hopefully, not one who would have sold me out for 30 pieces of silver! But the real question is would you sell all to have my company? Is having a "patent on peerage" with the Son of Man worth anything to you? What are you willing to exchange for your soul? What would you spend to see the real condition of your being? If you could see the way your possessions, in fact, possess you, would you recoil in horror? If the way is narrow, difficult and hard to enter into life--not easy as you have come to be accustomed to walking through doors swung wide by a fickle and adoring world--would you willingly take up that cross? 

Hard to let earth go, and take heaven instead; hard to exchange eternal life by letting dead things drop; hard to turn your back on Mammon, and follow Me; hard to lose your rich friends, and be of the Master's household. 
Here is the victory: to be delivered from the bondage of mammon by the lovely will of the Lord in you, one with My own. By the putting forth of the divine energy available through God's Spirit, you can escape the corruption that is in the world through lust—that is, the desire or pleasure of having."

Will: "But Lord, honestly, it is a struggle; what about the others, Tom or Beyonce or Oprah? Why can't I follow you with my money and use it to further your cause?"

Jesus: "Look around you, Will. They aren't clamoring to come into My kingdom. Until they are ready they are not such as I want to accompany me in accomplishing my Father's will. Those who are obedient children are my mothers, brothers, sisters and friends. The time has come for you, you must choose, that you should know what manner of spirit you are of, and meet the confusions of soul, the sad searchings of heart that must follow. A time comes to every man when he must obey, or make such refusal—and know it. Money is the power of this world—power for defeat and failure to him who holds it—a weakness to be overcome before a man can be strong; yet many decent people fancy it a power of the world to come! It is indeed a little power, as food and drink, as bodily strength, as the winds and the waves are powers; but it is no mighty thing for the redemption of men; in fact, to the redemption of those who have it, it is the saddest obstruction. To make you capable of eternal life, the first thing is to make a poor man of you! I know you would doubtless gladly devote your wealth to My service and go with Me, as a rich man, to spend it for Me. But part with it to free you for My service, that like Me, you will be completely trusting in our Father to provide, that is what it must come to!"


"I see in your eyes you are already turning away. Let me say in parting, you have begun early to climb the eternal stair. You have kept the commandments, and by every keeping have climbed. But because you are well to do—a phrase of unconscious irony—you have felt well to be—quite, but for that lack of eternal life! Your possessions give you a standing in the world—a position of consequence—of value in your own eyes. You know yourself looked up to; you like to be looked up to; you look up to yourself because of your means, forgetting that means are but tools, and poor tools too. To part with your wealth will be to sink to the level of your inferiors! Why should you not keep it? why not use it in the service of the Master? What wisdom, you ask, could there be in throwing away such a grand advantage? You would devote it, but won't cast it from you! You would devote it, but won't devote yourself! You will not make yourself naked as a little child and let your Father take you! You cannot yet see the wisdom in My words. You cannot yet see how your precious money can be a hindrance to entering into life! You cannot yet see how you, a rich man, would be of more value without your money; that the casting of it away would make you one of God's truly great ones; that the battle of God could be better fought without its impediment; that My work refuses as an obstruction the aid of wealth. I have repudiated money that I might do the will of My Father; and the disciple must be as his master. If you do as I tell you, you will soon come to understand. 


Obedience is the opener of eyes."

(adapted from George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons II, The Way)