Daily Readings & Thought for August 15th “HOW DIFFICULT IT WILL BE …”
We read in Mark 10 today how a man ran up and knelt before Jesus asking, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” A very meaningful conversation followed. Jesus said, “you know the commandments” and mentioned the main ones and the man responds, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth” [10 v.17-20]. Jesus reacts, “looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” What an invitation! But what a challenge – and, sadly, the man is “disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” [v.22]
We then read that the disciples were amazed” because he said, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” [v.23]. And yet, as we read in today’s chapter in 1 Kings about the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon to hear his wisdom and see the wonders of his kingdom where so much gold was available and used so that “silver was not counted as anything” [v.21]. The Queen said, “I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. Behold the half was not told me …” [v.6,7]
Yet tomorrow’s chapter is very disappointing – after all this use of wealth Solomon’s relationship with his God falters and “his heart was not wholly true to the LORD” [11 v.4] and he starts to worship other gods. Like the young man who came to Jesus “his great possessions” undermined, and in the case of the young man, destroyed his opportunity to have the wonder of “treasure in heaven.” We cannot know what role, if any, Solomon will have in the kingdom.
The world today is described as ‘a global village’ – and many of us have “great possessions” in a world-wide context: we should have in mind what Paul said in writing to Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils.” [1 Tim 6 v.10] Yes, it puts down mind poisoning roots! In God’s eyes, this is surely the case when those who have more than the money needed for essentials, spend the surplus on abundant possessions, pleasure and leisure, attitudes that take root in our minds and lead us further and further away from God – and our “treasure in heaven” ceases to exist and there is no reward for Jesus to bring with him for us (see Rev. 22 v.12) when he returns