A Post-Thanksgiving Meditation

The story haunts me.

A rich young man runs up to Jesus and breathlessly asks, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus doesn’t whip out a parchment with the ancient Aramaic version of “The Four Spiritual Laws.” Nor does he give the man a detailed theological presentation of the Gospel.

Instead, he quotes five of the 10 commandments.

Do not commit adultery.

Do not steal.

Do not bear false witness.

Do not murder.

Honor your father and mother.

Interestingly, Jesus omits “Do not covet” and the first four commandments about loving God supremely.

The young man responds by telling Jesus that he has kept all of these commandments since his childhood.

Jesus then tells him to go and sell everything he has and give to the poor, and then to follow Him.

The disheartened young man turns and walks away.

There is much that could be said about that story, but what always strikes me is the statement Jesus makes as the rich young man is leaving.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:25, NIV).

I used to breathe a sigh of relief when I read those words. I was thankful that I wasn’t numbered among the wealthy of this world. After all, sometimes my wife and I can barely make ends meet. Often, the money runs out before the bills are paid.

Surely I am not rich.

But one day I learned that 20-30,000 children die of malnutrition every day.* That comes out to about one child every 3 to 5 seconds.

More than 1 billion people in the world live on less than one dollar a day.

Approximately half of the world’s people live on less than $2.50 a day.

About 1.4 million children die every year because they do not have safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

I, on the other hand, find myself complaining if I have to spend over $3.50 for a gallon of gas.

I consider myself desperately inconvenienced when our home’s air conditioner does not work properly.

I’m bummed out if the budget’s too tight for me to take my wife out to a nice restaurant for dinner.

And I’m exasperated beyond imagination when the store is sold out of that bargain item I wanted so badly.

I drive home in my 7-passenger minivan and pull up the driveway into my 6-acre property. I enter my 2000-square-foot house and sit down in a nice, soft recliner.

My eyes survey all that I have.

God help me.

I am the rich man.

 

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*Sources:

One Day’s Wages – http://www.onedayswages.org/about/what-extreme-global-poverty

Statistic Brain – http://www.statisticbrain.com/world-poverty-statistics/

 

Photo Credits:

Image #1: Rain of money © Minerva Studio #36324580

Image #2:  African Children ©Abenaa – Istockphoto.com


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