“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” – Mathew 16: 24-25 (NIV).
When Jesus was here on earth he met many interesting people, from all walks of life. These ranged from the Samaritan woman who he found at a well (John 4:1-26); a justice of the supreme court who approached him at night (John 3: 1-21); to a soldier seeking a favor, to have his servant healed (Mathew 8: 5-13).
One day Jesus ran into a tycoon with a pressing need how he could get to heaven (Mark 10: 17-31). The tycoon was apparently a devout man who on most points he and Jesus agreed he was on the right path. However, when Jesus challenged him that he had to sell his property, give the money to the poor, and follow him, the tycoon walked away very sad for he was so attached to his accumulations.
Seeing him, Jesus turned and “said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” (vv 23-24).
Perhaps you are curious why. The fact here is that, just as back then, there are many rich people who are so attached to their accumulations, that if it were possible, they would rather be buried with all- mansions, fleets of vehicles, jewelry, perhaps even their cows! This is exactly how the Egyptian pharaohs and most traditional kings here lived. They were buried with all their material accumulations, apparently to give them comfort in the next world! For such, their whole identity was tied around their vast accumulations and titles. They could not imagine a life without. In a sense, it was a lonely life, for without those things, there was little else to life.
Yet it is not only rich and mighty affected but any of us can be in that box too. For some of us it could be our honorific titles, academic awards, racial and ethnic identities, and status in society by birth- something we hold on so dearly, that we can’t imagine life without. Well, here Jesus is telling us, that the way to heaven where we shall see even a far greater multiplication of anything we hold on to here desperately, is by surrendering all to him. Hard, isn’t it!
May God help us, for as Jesus said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God” (vv 27).
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I surrender all to you, which is not by my power but because you enable me so, in Jesus’s name I pray!