“They were even more astonished, saying to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?'” Mark 10:26
The rich young ruler walked away grieving (Mark 10:22). Jesus told him to get rid of everything and follow Him (Mark 10:21).
Jesus said it was hard for the rich to get into heaven (Mark 10:23). As a matter of fact, He said it was easier for one of the largest land animals to enter the tiniest of spaces than for the wealthy to get in (Mark 10:25).
As He was prone to do, He shocked the disciples with His words. First they were just astonished (Mark 10:24). Then they were more astonished (Mark 10:26). Jesus is the King of the “Shock and Awe.”
You see, in New Testament times wealth was viewed as a sign of God’s favor. Of God’s blessing. Of God being pleased with someone. The rich young ruler came to Jesus as a “blessed” man. He had many possessions. The disciples more than likely followed Jesus in order to “hit it big” in the physical assets department of life. Being one of the King’s boys would pretty much set you up for life, in the material sense.
So they thought.
Jesus’ teaching on wealth upended their worldview and theology. If the wealthy can’t be saved (translation: if the wealthy aren’t blessed by God) then who can be (translation: then no one can possibly get in)?
This begs a question, does it not? If it’s not wealth and prosperity, what is the indicator of being blessed by God?
Before we answer, ask yourself, “What do I assume is an indicator of God’s blessing?” Good church people wouldn’t act as astonished as the disciples, but aren’t we guilty of doing the EXACT SAME THING?
Take a quick test:
1. How do you respond when you get a new house?
2. How do you respond when you come upon some unexpected money?
3. How do you respond when you get a clean bill of health?
4. How do you respond when get the new, higher paying, job?
5. How do you respond when you have an obedient child?
Aren’t we prone to say, “God blessed me”? Or, to be a bit more hip: “#blessed AMIRIGHT?”
“God blessed me with a new house.”
“God blessed me with a better job.”
“God blessed me with good health.”
This isn’t wrong, per se. It is true that “every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). But is having nice things an automatic sign of God’s favor and blessing on our lives? Do not some who deny God have some of the same things? Don’t some even have a lot more than many believers? What about the Jesus follower in the bush in Africa who lives in a hut? Is he not blessed? And, if it were true that a sign of God’s favor is having nice and big things, would Jesus had commanded the rich young ruler to get rid of everything?
Could it be that the indicator of God’s blessing isn’t in what you have but rather in who you follow? The rich young ruler went away grieving. Doesn’t seem very blessed to me. To Jesus, being blessed means seeing Him as of greater worth than anything else.
Perhaps wealth and material possessions and good health isn’t a sign of being blessed, but of receiving a test. It’s not blessed, but a test. A test to see what’s in your heart. A test to see how you will use what you have been given. A test to see where your trust is.
An indicator, or should I say THE indicator (?) of being blessed by God is not in what you have or do. The indicator is in who you follow.
Are you blessed?