Today I want to continue some thoughts about the story of the rich young man who encounters Jesus. Last time we laid out the story and saw that perhaps the most important point is that without God, no one can enter the Kingdom. Today I want to share some thoughts about money/materialism and how it relates to the Kingdom.
It seems to me that we are really, really confused on this topic in the Western Church.
I see a lot of people these days critiquing the so called prosperity gospel. This prosperity gospel takes several forms and extremes. Sometimes it’s used to suggest that if I do certain things then God will give me worldly prosperity. For example if I tithe then God will give me a lot of wealth. Or if I give my life to Jesus, then my life will go the way I want it to. The idea is that doing what God wants will alleviate my suffering in this world sort of runs counter to the idea of picking up my cross.**
This is of course not true. Now it is true that God rewards faithfulness. It’s important as we critique the prosperity gospel peddlers that we not lose that truth. Otherwise we’d have to toss out a lot of scripture. But God doesn’t promise rewards in the way that we often like to see them. That’s the key distinction.