Read: Mark 10:17-23
Years before, the banking empire Citicorp ran a series of billboards about money: “Money changes hands – just be sure it doesn’t change the rest of you!” and “If people say you are made of money, you should work on your personality!” Those advertisements gave a refreshingly new perspective on riches.
God also has something surprising to say about wealth. From His perspective, you can be “well off” when it comes to worldly treasures and still be in terrible poverty in your soul. Or you can be poor in terms of earthly stuff and be lavishly rich according to God’s standards.
The distorting power of wealth reminds us of the rich young ruler. After a discussion about eternal life, Jesus asked him to sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow Him. Unfortunately, the man “went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:22). This prompted Jesus’ teaching to the disciples: “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23).
It’s not that Jesus is against wealth. It’s just that He is grieved by anything that we value more than Him. We can work hard and make money, but when those things are the main pursuit of life, then Jesus is not occupying the primary place in our lives. Placing Him first and foremost in our lives is the key to true and lasting prosperity. Jesus Himself said, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13). Do not let riches, or the pursuit of riches, or fame, or anything else in this world ruin your pursuit of Jesus.