Don’t Trade the Presence of God for a Buck

A young man approached Jesus and said,  “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (Matthew 19:16-22)

Without the presence of God, a billion bucks mean nothing.

The rich young man checked every box (i.e. the Ten Commandments) but failed to understand the point of the commandments.    Even in the Old Testament,  the reason for rituals was to lead the Jew into a relationship with God.    Unfortunately, the rich young man was serving Baal (cf.  Judges 2:11) and served on the wrong altar.  In Matthew 5:24 Jesus said,  No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

 Jesus gave the young man a choice:  It’s Me or your Money. 

The rich young man left Jesus’ presence. 

When Adam and Eve sinned,  they forfeited the Lord’s presence.     Sure, God was still everywhere but Adam and Eve were no longer “with God in His sanctuary”.

In the Old Testament, it was common for a worshiper to serve both Baal and God (cf. Joshua 24).   In a sense, Jesus was asking the rich man, “choose this day who you will serve” (cf. Joshua 24:15).

Jesus asks, “Why call me Lord, and do not what I say?” (Luke 6:46)  and advises,  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”  (Matthew 6:21).     

Heaven on earth is when I am sharing my possessions (cf.  James 2:14-17; Psalm 16:1; 21:6; 31:20; 41:12).

Hell on earth is when I say no to Jesus’ commands.  (cf. Psalm 76:7)  Don’t trade the presence of God for a buck (cf. Mark 8:37).

Author: gbradepp

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