Saturday, July 19, 2014

July 19 - Hard for the Rich

Today's Reading:
Ezekiel 39:1-40:27
Matthew 19:13-30
Proverbs 17:5-14
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Focus Verses:
Matthew 19:23-26
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" 26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Wealth can be an obstacle to living with a "kingdom of heaven" perspective. The comfort, privilege, and power that accompany material possessions, are often in conflict with Kingdom values. You cannot serve both God and money. If Jesus is Lord of our lives, our money should serve his kingdom and his righteousness. This is difficult and counter to the prevailing attitudes of the world, but with God's grace and guidance, it is possible.

Response and Action:
I recognize that I am very blessed. I live in a wealthy nation and I have many possessions. I must be careful to never let wealth and blessing possess me. My money, my house, my car, and everything else I own must be used to serve and honor God. Following Jesus and living by his Kingdom values requires that I open my eyes to the needs of people around me. Good stewardship requires generosity and concern for others.

O God, help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Help me to seek first your Kingdom and your righteousness. Give me eyes to see all that I have as a gift from you to be used to honor and serve you. Teach me to hold on to Jesus with all my might, and to be open-handed and generous with my possessions. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses:  
Ecclesiastes 5:10-11
10 Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. 11 As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?

Neither Poverty Nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions
by Craig L. Blomberg

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