Thursday, May 10, 2012

Are the People on Welfare Rich?

And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  and He said unto him.  Why callest thou Me good?  There is none good but One, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandments.  He saith unto Him, Which?  Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  The young man saith unto Him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.  Then said Jesus unto His disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.  When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.  Matthew, Chapter 19, verses 16-26.
Now, it can be easy to ignore this passage and think that this just doesn’t pertain to me because I’m not rich.  Being rich is a relative thing.  (I wanted to say some corny thing about all your relatives coming around if you were rich.  Forgive me, but I couldn’t resist!)  Don’t you think those from a Third World Country would think that American’s on welfare are rich?  We have so much, but don’t realize it when we compare ourselves to others who seem to have so much more.
I think it’s about how all our stuff and the desire for more stuff, money or wealth interfere with our total focus on God.  Everything we couldn’t bear to put in a Salvation Army, Goodwill or other charitable bin has some control on us.  Its importance has worked a very subtle wedge in our relationship with God.
I was trying to think about which things might be excluded from this.  First, I thought about my toothbrush, because it seems like an essential item.  Then I thought that the disciples didn’t have toothbrushes when they followed Jesus.  If Jesus told me I needed to follow Him and be willing to give up my toothbrush I would need to, no questions asked.
Next, I thought about my shoes, because I thought they were essential.  I realize having 27-35 pairs of shoes in my closet right now for casual, work or dress wear throughout the year is highly questionable.  Well, I looked in the Bible and found this passage:
And the people asked Him, saying, What shall we do then?  He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.  Luke, Chapter 3, verses 10-11.
I think this is a good rule of thumb.  I don’t know much about the philosophy of those who write books about simplifying your life by giving up things, but it seems this passage would support the general principal of how things become too important to us.  There is no way I want the extra pairs of shoes I own to become a wedge in my relationship with God.
I was just thinking that if I could get my shoes down to one pair of tennis shoes instead of five different types, a pair of dress shoes, etc. and give the rest to a charitable organization, I would be more in-tune with what God wants for me.
Here are some related passages:
*And a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou Me good?  none is good, save One, that is, God.  Thou knowest the Commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.  And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.  Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me.  And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.  And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, He said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?  And He said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.  Luke, Chapter 18, verses 18-27.
*Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.  Psalm, Chapter 62, verse 10.

Because this example of how I’ve applied these Bible passages to my life only focused on a portion of the passages, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passages.

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 

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