And Jesus, 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.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:21-22, ESV)

By the world’s standards, I am not a wealthy person. I do, however, feel very blessed as I consider how God supplies my daily needs. I have housing, food, transportation, and money to pay my bills. God is good to me, and I am content. Most of us are more blessed than we even realize.

As I began reading the story of the rich young ruler, several questions flashed through my mind. My first thought was, “Isn’t that an extreme request by the Lord? Why would He ask that young man to give everything away? Can we not serve God if we are rich?”

The longer pondered the story, I thought perhaps this isn’t really about money as much as the attitude of our heart—how we feel about our material possessions. What I do know is that the young man chose money over discipleship and turned away from the Lord very disappointed.

I believe the Lord was also disappointed. Mark 10:21 tells us that Jesus loved this young man. I believe the Lord saw great potential in him. Would he have become a great leader like Peter, an evangelist like Philip, or a missionary like Paul? We will never know how the Lord planned to use him in kingdom work had he chosen to forsake and follow. Instead, he walked away. Did he later have regrets?

We find another story in the Gospel of Mark that demonstrates pure motives about money. Jesus pointed out a poor widow to His disciples.

And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I Say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:42-44, ESV)

What a contrast between the rich young ruler and the poor widow. The one with the least money was the most willing to give her all to God. That shows total trust.

Whether we are rich or poor, God desires us to be good stewards of whatever He entrusts to us. I’ve known some who were very wealthy but did not allow their possessions to possess them. God came first in their lives, and as wise stewards they contributed greatly to the kingdom. I have known others who had little money but wasted what they did have in unwise ways. Money, when handled wisely and unselfishly, can be used for many good purposes. However, the love of money can lead us astray.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (I Timothy 6:10, ESV)

When we love money, we are putting our confidence in our wealth rather than our God. We are basing our happiness on things that money can buy rather than things with eternal value. The person who craves money, as the verse above describes, always seeks more. They are never satisfied. How can we live a contented life if we always driven to seek more and more?

“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10, ESV)

First Timothy 6:11 tells us to seek righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness. We must hold lightly the things of this earth but hold tightly to things eternal. To me, this is the key to living the best life.

Lord, help me to be a good steward of the blessings You have given me. Help me to seek contentment and joy in things eternal rather than crave the material things of this world.


Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

Comments are closed.