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firstthingsfirst

Scripture: Luke 18:18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’ ” 21 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. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Observation: This is from one of my bible commentaries “Jesus continues to speak about entering the kingdom. However, this story speaks of those who are hindered not so much by their pride as by their wealth (although Luke knows well that the two tend to go hand in hand). Returning to a theme he has discussed on several occasions, Jesus now offers the clearest explanation in Luke for the danger of wealth. Wealth occupies one’s attention, time, and energy, and in so doing, it takes the heart away from God. “No one can serve two masters.”

Application: I like stuff just like you. Stuff, in and of itself, is not a problem. There is nothing wrong with enjoying material blessing. The problem is when we’re devoting more of ourselves to “stuff” than to God. It’s not hard to do. If we compare the amount of time we devote to (earning, shopping for, maintaining) our stuff – to the amount of time we invest in our faith life, most of us would come up wanting.

I’ve recently been looking for a car for our younger daughter Danielle. If she has her own transportation it takes a lot of pressure off of mom and dad. Mostly mom. But finding a decent used car with a small budget isn’t easy. Too many people trying to sell junk. Truth is, this search has consumed far too much of my time, to the point that I have found myself skipping some of my faith disciplines and exercise routines. This morning’s passage reminds me this is not the way of Jesus. I’ve crossed a line that should not be crossed.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you bless us with material things – as is your pleasure to do. Yet this blessing can become a curse if we allow it to crowd out more important things – like our faith practices. Give us grace to bring our priorities back into alignment when we stray. Especially me. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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