Read: Matthew 19:16-22 |
Count Nicholaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf was born into one of Europe’s leading families in the year 1700, and he grew up in an atmosphere of prayer, Bible-reading, and singing hymns. He excelled in his university studies at Wittenberg, Germany. He seemed to possess all the qualities you would want in a potential national leader. After graduating from the university, Zinzendorf embarked on a grand tour of Europe. He attended lectures, visited museums, palaces, and other universities.
It was while visiting the art museum at Dusseldorf that the young count had a deeply moving experience that stayed with him the rest of his life. Seeing Domenico Feti’s Ecce Homo (“Behold, the Man”), a portrait of the thorn-crowned Jesus, and reading the inscription below it–“I Did This For Thee! What Hast Thou Done For Me?” Zinzendorf said to himself, “I have loved Him for a long time, but I have never actually done anything for Him. From now on, I will do whatever He leads me to do.”
His life was never again the same. He became the founder for a spiritual community on his property called Herrnhut. They provided hundreds of Moravian missionaries over the next several decades and sparked the modern missionary movement.
Count Nicholas and the rich young ruler were faced with a similar kind of question, but only one stepped toward heaven. Count Nicholas and the rich young ruler were certainly well-off and comfortable. They both had a choice to be a workman and become highly-favored heirs to the Kingdom of God or not. One chose to work and be a joint heir with Christ and one decided not to risk losing his lifestyle by serving God.
Clearly, we are not required to be poor in order to be a good Christian. At the same time, when we ask God to bless us “richly”, money is not the only currency that God uses to bless us. Thus, it is important to understand this lesson in the context of our modern society. Given our comfortable cushioned pews, air conditioned churches and lavish displays in the lobbies – What Kingdom of God lessons should we learn from the rich young ruler?
The Psalms and Proverbs clearly note the benefits of wealth and the struggles of poverty – both can be the will of God and a blessing from God.
By examining the scriptures, we can see how God has used both the well-off and poor believers who are rich only in faith.
- Jesus lived in relative poverty and left the riches of Heaven to die for our sins
- Solomon was blessed with significant wealth.
- Abraham was blessed with wealth
- King David began as a shepherd, but became a wealthy King
- The apostles left their careers to take up their cross and follow Him. This lead to persecution and martyrdom; they were not regarded as wealthy and did not live a comfortable life. Instead, they used all they had to share Christ with others (Luke 18:28).
Yet if we look at the Old Testament Saints, the New Testament Saints and the modern-day Believers, we all have this in common – God has made us and appointed us to do His will. He gives us what we need in order to accomplish His will.
Points to Ponder
In this study, we will ponder, peruse and pursue the truths that Jesus left us to live by. We will:
- Review the scriptural context and background on well-off and poor Believers as a stumbling block to serving God
- Review what Believers should and should not do when faced with a “Come follow me” moment from God versus staying in our comfort zone
Both the well-off and poor Christian can honor Christ using the spiritual currency of love, joy, peace, humility, generosity, faithfulness and godliness. The wealthy Christians however, have to ensure that they avoid the entrapments of their comfort and stay ready and willing to say “Yes Lord!” when He calls them to serve.
Believers rich with spiritual currency are truly prosperous, whether they are economically rich or poor.
1. Discover –
A. In verse 21, Jesus asked the rich young ruler: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Jesus asked this question because He could see the weakness towards wealth and comfort within his heart. What question would Jesus see that He needs to ask you?
B. What hold does pursuing money have on your life? Is it all-consuming or just a necessary thing?
2. Develop –
A. How do you approach your income. Do you choose to live on enough to be comfortable or do you do what you can maximize your income?
3. Demonstrate –
A. How do you treat or approach those that are less fortunate and poorer than you are? Do you avoid them or do you show them the love of God? Share how you demonstrate God’s love.