Devotional – God Cries

Published 3:14 pm Friday, April 29, 2022

He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. NRS Luke 18:21

It is amazing how much God’s word has to say about the problems that wealth can cause. The term “wealth” is used is used more than 90 times in scriptures (not including the Apocrypha, which pushes it to a hundred and 32 times). After a brief sweep of those verses, it is easy to say that scripture really has little good to say about wealth, riches and an easy life. In fact, it chides and teaches us that to go after the things of this earth is mere foolishness. In the parable of the rich young ruler, Jesus is saddened because the young devout man, who wishes to be close to God, seems unable to get his wealth out of the way. All of this should be a warning to all people of faith who claim the Bible to be a God’s own instructions to us on how to dwell in God’s Kingdom.

However, it seems strange to me that when we look to our personal life and our corporate worship lives, one of the first criteria we apply is our financial status. How much wealth do we have? While God sees wealth as a snare, we see it as the chance to live and worship at ease. Wealth often becomes not what we own, but what owns us.

Discussions about how to manage wealth are the most delicate conversations any Church can have. We cannot rightly worship God if our wealth gets in the way, nor can any religious organization rightly worship God if accumulating wealth is our sole goal.

The United States of America is one of the most blessed lands in the world. While we have our troubles, our standard of living is very high. However, so many of us still act like the “rich young” ruler, ones unable to get to God because our money, or the desire for more money, gets in the way. Perhaps we should all be a lot more careful about our wealth.

Keith Leach is Pastor of College Church and College Chaplain at Hampden-Sydney College. He can be reached at kleach@hsc.edu.