Text: Matt 19:16-30
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, 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.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Father, we enter Your presence as little ones. We want to hear from You. Lord, we avail ourselves. We ask that you would give us wisdom from above. We’re gathered in the name of your Son, Jesus. We ask that You would be amongst us. Holy Spirit, we ask you to fill this place as well as each of our hearts. We pray that we would be good soil, and when the word is planted and when the word is watered, in due time, it will bear much fruit. We asked for that today, Lord. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
I want to talk about calling. What is your calling? What have you been called to? Are you called to be a pastor, engineer, father, mother? What’s our primary calling as believers and followers of Jesus? And my answer to that is, we’re primarily called to be saved. We’re primarily called to be saved, and then once saved, our primary calling after that is to follow Jesus and to surrender everything to Him. And specifically today, I want to talk about one area of surrender, namely our finances.
What is our calling? You ask this question to Christians and you will get many, many different answers. I think there’s confusion when it comes to our vocation, that somehow in the church, it has been elevated to a calling. Like i am called to this profession. And i just want to ask, where is that in Scripture? Show me in Scripture. Is there a verse that says you’re called into a specific vocation? There is one section. Rom 13. If you are a governing authority. And if you’ve been put as a president of a country in charge of maintaining law and order and protection for its citizens, that person is described as a minister of God. It’s somebody who is ordained, it says, for this role. I cannot find any other vocation that you can elevate and call it a “calling.” Another exception, other than ruling authorities, is Paul in 1 Cor 1:1 and Rom 1:1. He introduces himself as an apostle “called” by God. So far, apostle qualifies as a calling. In terms of vocation, a ruling authority qualifies as as a calling. Is there any other vocation that fits into what is commonly described in churches as calling? I cannot find a verse.
Why did i say in the beginning that our primary calling is to be saved? It’s because the vast majority of times when the word “calling” is used, as far as I can tell, it’s used in terms of calling unto salvation. For example, Romans 8:30.
30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
And so the word for “called” is he invites or summons. You are invited to be saved. You are called unto salvation, be saved, receive salvation. That is our calling. To respond to the Caller who says, be saved. And the most clear example of this is in Matthew 22. The Parable of the Wedding Feast. A call goes out. An invitation goes out. Come to the wedding banquet. And what do people do with this calling? They ignore it. They’re too busy. And then the call goes out again. And what did they do? They pay no attention. And then a third time, a calling is sent. And this time, it’s people who are worthy are invited because those who did not respond are not worthy. Those who respond, they’re worthy. Calling goes out. And this time it goes to anybody. The servants go to the back roads, inviting both good and bad. And now, this time, people respond to the calling. They respond to the Caller, and they’re at the wedding banquet, which represents salvation.
We know historically that this is the calling that went to the Jews first. The Jews did not respond to this calling, and because they did not respond, the call went out to the Gentiles and the Gentiles responded. But look at how this parable ends. Everybody is gathered. But there’s somebody in the wedding feast and this person does not have the correct garments, meaning they responded to the call, they want to be saved, but in the end, they’re ill-prepared. And one group of people, I think, that are ill-prepared, if you go to back to our main text in Matthew 19, it is those who are rich. The rich young ruler represents Christians who are rich. And they show up to the wedding banquet. They responded to the call to be saved. They want to be saved. And they’re sincere. But they don’t have the right clothes on. And it’s because they’re clutching onto their money.
This rich young man is a ruler. How do we know that? There’s no mention that this rich young man is a ruler in Matthew 19. This account is so important that it’s described in all three synoptic gospels. It is described in Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is that important.
How do we know that this man is a ruler? Luke 18:18.
18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
And Jesus responds to the man in an odd way. Verse 20. He says, “You know the commandments.” So what kind of person is he? Not only is a young, not only is he rich. But he’s also a ruler. And not any kind of ruler. He’s a specific kind of ruler. What kind of ruler is he? He’s somebody who has followed the commandments. And if you are, let’s say, a governing official in Rome. You’re a politician, and Jesus says, I know you’ve kept the commandments. Wouldn’t you respond, how did you know, Jesus? Nothing on the surface indicates that Jesus could have known that he kept the commandments if he were a secular ruler. See, that rich young ruler doesn’t flinch, which tells me he’s a specific kind of ruler. He’s a ruler for religious people. He’s a ruler in the synagogue. In modern day terms, he is a pastor, and not just any pastor, he’s a pastor of pastors. He’s an influential pastor.
And you might think, how can a religious ruler be so rich? If you want to answer that question, Jesus gives us a clue in Matthew 21. Jesus goes to the temple. And what is the temple supposed to be a place of? A house of prayer. And what have the religious leaders turned it into? A den of robbers. How how were they stealing? People in those days traveled long distances to worship in Jerusalem. They were there from out of town to offer a special sacrifice to the Lord. And so the religious leaders made it convenient for these travelers by bringing the sacrificial animals into the temple. And they charged exorbitant prices. And who was getting rich? It was the leaders.
Do you know what the richest organization in the world is by far? The Catholic Church. We may think there’s no money in religion. It is not true. If you want to be filthy rich, one very prominent track in America is to be a megachurch pastor. You’ll be filthy rich. Even in my church back home in Philadelphia. It was a thousand people. So it’s sizeable. But the pastor had multiple children whose Ivy League education was paid for by the church and he received a sizeable pension when he retired. You go to a place like Korea, you know who are treated like celebrities there? It’s the pastors. And so it is no accident that Jesus is going to a rich religious leader who keeps the commandments and he’s saying to this person, you must leave your money because there is a lot of money in organized religion. You just play your cards right. You end up in the right place. A big congregation. You will be wealthier than a CEO. And it’s all tax exempt. You don’t even have to report it. There’s no transparency.
In this passage, Jesus is speaking to a rich young ruler. Who is he speaking to today? Clearly, He’s speaking to me as a pastor. But is He only speaking to pastors? How do you define somebody who is rich versus somebody who is poor? Matthew 6 is one one way to define rich versus poor.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So how does Jesus define somebody as poor? The people who are genuinely poor struggle with three questions. What am I going to eat? What am I going to drink? What am I going to wear?
What am I going to eat? I don’t know where my next meal is coming from. I’m not sure if i have enough. What am I going to drink? I’m thirsty. There’s no clean water. What am i going to wear? My clothing that I’ve been wearing is wearing out. If you struggle with these three questions, you’re poor. Everyone else is rich, which means Jesus is addressing every single person here.
What do we worry about if it’s not food, drink and clothing? What kind of car can I buy? How nice of a house can I live in? Will this house be in a nice neighborhood with a good school district so that my kids can get well educated? When am I going to take that dream vacation that I’ve been saving up for? If you’re not anxious and worried about food, drink and clothing, then, by definition, you’re rich. Which means Matthew 19 applies to you and me. Because I don’t think anybody here is struggling about their next meal or is dying of thirst. Or doesn’t have enough clothes to be presentable.
Matthew 19. Jesus is talking to Church in America. Because the vast majority of people in America, just by the sheer fact that you’re in this country, the number one superpower with the highest standard of living on the earth, if you’re just here, you and I are already rich. But just like this religious person, this pastor of pastors, our minds play so many tricks to justify our greed.
One justification is, well, this is my calling, and I just want to ask, where in the Bible does it say that you’re called to such and such profession? There’s even more confusion because now, it’s not just calling, I got to take care of the little one. I am the provider. Is that true? Is any of us ultimately the provider? This rich, young ruler, if he gave away all of his wealth, he has nothing. Is God going to let him starve? Is God going to let him die of thirst? Will he not have enough to put clothes on his back? No, of course not. Which tells us, who is ultimately the Provider? It is God. Our Heavenly Father. Like baby Micah has no worries about food, water, clothing. Because daddy and mommy have got him covered. And who is taking care of DY and Elaine? Who do they ultimately rely upon to provide? It’s not themselves. It is their heavenly Father.
And so we’re confused in the body of Christ. We compare. We look at the extremely rich in our own country, and by that standard we say, I am poor. And so we read Matthew 19 and say, this doesn’t apply. Jesus is not asking me to give away all my money. How do you know? Have you ever asked the Lord? How do you know if this doesn’t apply if you’ve never asked?
Not only do we justify and say, I’m poor by comparison. We are further confused due to wrong teaching on finances. We say, I am called to be a provider. It is not true. If you’re not worrying about food, drink, clothing, we are by definition, rich. And I want to say, like this ruler, we are filthy rich. Not only do we have enough food, we can eat pretty much anywhere we want. If we really wanted to splurge, who among us could not splurge on our next meal? And who among us lack the means to drink whatever we want. There’s no limitation in terms of food and drink. Is there any piece of clothing that people in this room could not afford if they really wanted it? And so, by definition, we are rich.
Why is money described as the one huge alternative to God? Why God vs Money? How does money function like a god? It’s because money gives us security. You go to your god of Money and you feel secure. Look at how much I have in my bank account. You go to your god and you have so many options. Where should I eat? I’m gonna go to Yelp. I’m going to go to a five star restaurant, three dollars signs. I could go there, I could go there. Can’t decide. I’ll put all of these options in a queue. I’ll just go down the line and eat them all. Clothing. Oh, that’s trendy. I’ll go buy that, buy that, but whatever I want. We are rich. We have to know this.
Matthew 19, Mark 10, Luke 18 – it’s talking about Christians in America. It is talking about us. And I am not questioning our sincerity. We all desire to be part of the Wedding Feast. We want to be there. You would not be here worshiping unless you want to be there. We’re sincere. I’m not questioning our sincerity, but I don’t want any of us to be at the Wedding Banquet in the end. And to be there wearing improper clothing. Because throughout your life, nobody told you that you need to struggle with this idol of money. And if you never struggle, you will be there at the Banquet, but it’ll be like you just rolled out of bed when he should have put on your Sunday best.
Regarding work, what value is there to work? Because there is value, because i’m not saying all of us should just quit. You just be supported by the church. There’s some believers who act like they are entitled to be supported by the church (esp. pastors and church leaders), and you look at them, and their doing nothing to help their financial situation. They’re just a burden. Like in 1 Tim 5, Paul describes these young widows who should be working while there are legitimate financial needs in the church. Like if you are a sixty plus year old widow in biblical times, you’re under Rome, there’s no social security. Maybe all of your family members are unbelievers so they’ve kind of left you on your own. Maybe you’ve outgrown everyone. Everyone else has passed away, who knows? but they’re legitimate needs in the church where the church will say, ok, this widow, she’s been serving the Lord faithfully. For decades, she’s been praying, she’s been hospitable, she’s taking care of her family financially.
She is qualified to be supported by the church. And how beautiful would it be if the church today acted this way? That is not the burden of the government, that we, as a people of God, we will take care of our own. These women of faith, who don’t have employment, don’t have finances, don’t have children to take care of them. So beautiful if the church takes on this responsibility to care for these older, faithful women who’ve been serving for decades.
These younger women look at how well these older widows were cared for by the church. And they themselves are widows so they have a huge financial disadvantage. Because especially in those times, to get jobs for women was difficult. And these women have their hands out. They just want a handout from the church. Paul says to these women – get to work! And why should they work? First of all, Paul says, take care of your financial needs and the needs of your own family. If you’re the kind of young Christian who has money and you have older people or siblings or parents or people in your circle and they are in financial need, they don’t have the financial resources that you have and you don’t take care of them, Paul says, you’re worse than an unbeliever. This is one use of money. God wants to bless you with money so that you can care for the financial needs of your family and extended family, if need be. That is one use of money that the Lord approves of.
Why else do we need to work? For our protection and character. These young widows who are receiving financial assistance from the church have so much time. Are they using this free time for godly purposes? No, because they’re not godly, they’re not using their free time the way the older, godly widows use their free time. They’re not praying, they’re not serving others. Instead, they are living self-indulgently. They are going into people’s home. They’re busy bodies, they are sowing division and gossip.
I’m speaking to the young people here. I put in my time in the workforce. We have to know working, it’s for your protection. First of all, if you’re a young person with a whole lot of time, unless you are super spiritual and godly, having a kickback schedule is not good for you. Just read 1 Tim 5. With more free time, you will fall into more sin. Satan will have avenues into your life because you have so much time.
Also, working is for your character. These older widows, they were trustworthy. They earned their reputation through decades of faithfulness and commitment, and laying down of their preferences for the good of others. And if you’re that kind of person as an older widow who can no longer find work, because you’ve presented yourself as a committed, humble, serving kind of person over decades, you’ve earned the right to be financially supported by the church. So, rather than saying, I am called to such and such a work, why don’t we say, I am called to work for the sake of my own character? This work that the Lord has given for me to do is necessary. It’s for my good. It’s so that Satan doesn’t have so many avenues to attack me. And if you have extra money and there are people in your family or extended family with genuine financial needs, whose responsibility is it? It is ours. It is not the government’s. It is ours.
Going back to out main text, I hope I’ve convinced you. Matthew 19 is directly applicable and relevant to every single person here. Anyone who does not struggle with food, clothing and drink, you’re rich. I am rich. And this ruler doesn’t flinch when Jesus says, you know the commandments. Is he just someone who is a secular ruler who attends a synagogue on the weekend? No, he has dedicated himself as a leader, a spiritually leader in the community.
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
This is what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about eternity. We’re talking about not just the zeal and the sincerity of saying, Yes, I want to go to the Wedding Banquet. We are talking about somebody who has prepared himself. He has the right clothes on. For every single Christian in America, we need to struggle with Matthew 19. That is our version of taking off the wrong clothing and preparing with the right clothing.
17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
At one point in your life, you’re gonna have to ask the Lord, what do you want me to do with my finances? You’re going to have to ask the Lord. Christians struggle with tithing. The average nationally is 2-3 %. That already tells you. People in America do not believe that God owns my money. No wonder the average American Christian struggles with tithing. 10% is too much. God owns 100%. I don’t know if you knew that. God owns 100%. And at any point, He may ask you to give it all away. All of us have to ask, why are you giving me this job? I know it’s for my protection. I know it’s for building my character.
If you were a millionaire Christian and you tithe, you still have $900,000 left over. Did God give you that much money so that you can live in a mansion? We have to ask, why are You giving me this money? Is it is this so that I can support family members? That could be a reason. The people in my family who are struggling to make ends meet – is this money for their well being? These are legitimate reasons why God blesses us with more than we need.
What about Lydia in the New Testament? Why was she such a such a successful businesswoman? It’s because when Paul got there in Philippi, in Europe, who did he meet first? Lydia. And who funded the mission of God in Europe? People like Lydia because you need money to fund the mission of God. So there could be character building reasons why you are in your particular job and making more money than you need. Another reason for our work is protection from Satan because the work you do keeps you from having too much time so that you’re not self indulgent. Works helps to develop your character. You become a trustworthy person. You know how to follow through with commitments. Meet deadlines. This is all important in the body of Christ.
My boys – why do I push them to study hard? Is it because because i want them to go to Harvard? Is that my end goal? No, I just want them to be people who of integrity, people who know how to do hard work. Who are not afraid to work. To roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. I want them to be people who, when they say they’ll do something, they are men of their word. They will follow through. And how do you learn that? You learn that through discipline. You learn that through following through with difficult projects, by studying hard, by working hard, it’s for the formation of character.
Character formation and protection from sin, providing financially for loved ones in need — these are possible reasons why God has put you in a specific track in terms of your vocation. But ultimately, of course, God owns one hundred percent of our finances and we have to learn how to ask — Lord, what do you want me to do with this money? Is it so that I could be radically generous for your kingdom? Is it because there are people in my family who are financially needy? All of us will have to ask and receive the Lord’s answer regarding money.
I’m afraid in our country and our churches, this topic is not covered, and we hide it with the line, Oh, I’m the provider. Or, this job is my calling. Where is it that in Scripture? Other than governing authorities, other than apostles, is there anything else that we’re called to vocationally?
This rich young ruler walked away from Jesus with deep sadness in his heart because he could not let go of his money. And you’re going to hear this message, and you may not be sad and walk away from Jesus because you’re sincere. You want to follow him, but you will walk away from this message. You will not struggle with finances and you’ll say, I’m good and you will be deceiving yourself. To me, that would be a tragedy. If you walked away and said, this doesn’t apply, I’m not that rich.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, 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.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
With what heart is Jesus saying this about rich people? Is He angry? Is He angry at us, Christians in America who fail to struggle with their finances? And we’ve been taught wrongly that it’s your calling to provide or this job is my calling? Is He angry? Is He upset? With what heart does He speak after interacting with a rich young ruler?
The answer is in Mark 10:21.
21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
When Jesus says to you, Sell your possessions. Don’t live for money. Don’t live for the god of Money. With what heart is He’s saying it? With a heart of love. He’s trying to set you free. If you serve Money, Money is a harsh master. You will serve it, and he will say, okay, go do more. And on the receiving end, you’ll want more. You have money, you’re greedy for more and by appeasing your greed, you are serving Money. You are serving your god, and this god is a harsh master. Money says, Okay, not good enough, do more. Come with more. I’ll offer you more. Come serve me. Here’s more. Come serve me. Here’s more. Jesus, with the heart of love, is trying to set us free.
Think of how free and unburdened you’d be if you took off the burden of responsibility as a provider, as the breadwinner, and you said, Father, this is yours. Jesus, I give you my burdens. Yeah, I might not be able to eat all the food that I want. Yeah, I might not be able to drive the car that I always wanted to drive. Yeah, I might not live in a mansion overlooking the ocean. But Jesus said, if my Father can take care of the birds and the lilies of the field, feeding them and clothing them, you think He’s going to to let His own children starve and die of thirst and have nothing to put on their back?
See, if we were just content with food, drink, clothing. And we ultimately just trusted our Heavenly Father. He will provide for my needs. All I have to do, my calling, first of all, is to be saved. And to be saved for a rich person means you have to let go of your money. It is an idol. You have to let go of it. Not only are we called to be saved, once we’re saved, then we’re called, not to a profession, we’re called to follow the Caller, to follow Jesus. Our Heavenly Father has our back. We have food, clothing, drink. We’re not going to starve, we’re not going to die of thirst. We’re not going to have holes in our clothing.
On top of that, God will give you more than you need because He sees that there are needs around you. He wants you to share with brothers and sisters, with people in your family who have genuine need. We’re not talking about their luxury, we’re saying their genuine need. He’s given you extra so that you can provide for them. Not only that, there is need in the kingdom. And God doesn’t do it because He needs your money. God does not have a small bank account. He can supply the needs of His own mission to save the world. But what a privilege. He invites people to join him, and the reason why you are filthy rich is so that you can be radically generous for the kingdom.
Your calling is to be saved. Don’t confuse the word. Let’s not use the word “calling” flippantly. We’re called to be saved. And on top of that, you may be called to be an apostle. You may be called to a government position for the protection and the well being of the citizens, for law and order. But let’s not call our vocation a calling. That vocation that you think is a calling can make you stuck. People say, I have to do this calling. Isn’t this why God called me to do this calling, this job? And we get stuck.
Or you get stuck in a different way. That I’m called to be a provider. I bought this home. The housing market has crashed. I can’t sell the house. I’m stuck. Jesus says, Come, follow me. This means, there can be nothing in this life that makes us stuck. Meaning our vocation cannot be an excuse to stay in one place. Jesus moves from town to town. And we can’t say, Jesus, while I have this field, this land has depreciated in value. I’ll follow you later once the market rises. This job is my dream job. I’ve been called to this. Jesus, I want to follow you. Let me retire first, and then I’m going to follow you. These are wrong teachings.
When it comes to the “calling” of a vocation, or the “calling” of being a provider, if these things makes us stuck, then we can’t follow Jesus wherever and whenever. I can honestly say, if God calls me to the mission field, by tomorrow, I can pack up. There is nothing that holds me. Children will do homeschool on the mission field. There’s nothing that ties us down. Yeah, we may lose money. If let’s say, the housing market is depressed. Is that going to be a reason why I do not respond to the call of God? Am I afraid of losing money? Doesn’t Jesus say He promises food, clothing, drink?
Don’t worry about your possessions. Only a rich person, through much difficulty can enter the kingdom of heaven. I’m not sure what it will take. I think when we’re all old and on our deathbed, we will realize, I should not have lived for money. Because in the end, you can’t take it with you. What good is it? In the end, I think we’ll all reach the same conclusion about money. That it wasn’t worth serving for our entire lives. I want us to realize it now while we are young instead of waiting until we are old. Let’s realize now what we will all realize in the end. I don’t want to serve Money. If I serve Money, I will be tied down. I will not be able to follow Jesus. I cannot follow Jesus if I’m stuck. I have too many financial investments. I am immobilized because of money.
Let’s be the kind of people that if Jesus says, I’m here with you today, tomorrow I’m moving, can you come follow me? And we say, Yes, Lord! The apostles, the first Christ followers — how could they follow Jesus from town to town? It’s because they had left everything. Let’s ignore the relational part of leaving brothers or sisters or father or mother or children. Let’s just look at what Jesus said in the beginning and the end of v29. Everyone who left houses… or lands… If you do not leave your stuff, it will be almost impossible to follow Jesus. If you’re not the kind of person who says, Yeah, this stuff is nothing. I’m not living for stuff, I have a different treasure. I’m investing in heavenly treasures. If you don’t have that mindset, if you haven’t surrendered your stuff, you cannot follow. But you will be confused because your mind will say, I want to follow. You could possibly end up like the person in the wedding banquet. He doesn’t have the right clothing.
We’re not talking about the sincerity of wanting to follow. We’re talking about, are you prepared? Have you surrendered everything? This is the standard. The early apostles, they’re saying, Here is the standard. We’ve left everything. And because we have so much, our theology is gotten us so confused. We justify greed. We justify the idol of money. We say, it’s not a god. You don’t have to struggle with with your value system regarding money.
You primary calling is when Jesus calls you to the Wedding Banquet. When he invites or “calls,” it’s the same. You are called to respond to the invitation of salvation. Come to the Banquet. And then, once you’ve responded to the call, you spend the rest of your life putting on the right clothing, meaning you follow Jesus because you’ve left everything. If you live out your calling by following Jesus wherever He takes you, that is somebody with the right clothes. If Money is your god, you cannot follow Jesus.
Please resolve in your heart — before you get too rich in this life because the more rich you are, the harder it is to hear this message… Make a resolution before it’s too late. What are you going to do with your money? How are you gonna handle your money? How are you going to steward it? God owns one hundred percent. Why is God giving you excess? For what purpose? Have you designated it? This is for the Lord. Okay, this relative needs money. Have you designated it, or do you just live amassing more and more and more?
Our primary calling is to be saved. Saved fully, all the way. Not just invited, not just entering the Wedding Banquet, but to have the right clothing on. Fully saved. Finally saved. That is your and my calling. And if you are not struggling with food, clothing and drink, by definition, you are rich. If you’re worried about other things — promotions and vacations and luxury items, you are rich.
So this passage, it’s as if Jesus is talking straight to you. And He’s not doing it with a harshness. You have to see it. He’s not angry. He’s speaking with love. He wants to set you free. Jesus is a far better master than Money, far kinder, for gentler than the god of Money. He’s trying to set you free from a burdened life of being a provider because we have a Heavenly Father who is our Provider. The stress that comes with pursuing money — He wants to set you free. He’s saying this with love. You may not hear it today. Jesus still wants to save you, but just know, you’re signing up for a difficult life. If you love Money, God still wants to save me. Jesus will still pursue you, but you’ll encounter much difficulty.
It’s like a camel going through the eye of a needle. It is humanly impossible. What is the biggest miracle in Scripture? It’s a rich person being saved. This is right out of Scripture. You and I being saved is the biggest miracle that Jesus can perform. If we do not voluntarily lay down our finances, He still wants to save you, but you will have a difficult life. He wants to spare you difficulty in life. He wants to spare you the trials, the difficulty.
Just surrender to him. Avoid difficulties. Have an easy life. A life of peace, a life of joy, a life of meaning. Surrender everything to Jesus. That is your calling, to be saved and to follow Jesus, that is your calling.
Father, we just ask you not to let us go. We don’t want to go away, Lord, from this message. You’re addressing every single person here. We’ve been called. You called us. You’ve invited us to the wedding banquet. You called us to be saved. That is our primary calling. Not only that, you’ve called us to follow Jesus. And just logically, we cannot follow you while we are stuck. When we say my job is so important, we can’t follow you, or I’m the provider, the burden is on my shoulders, I can’t follow.
Jesus, you tell us from the beginning, those who follow you have left everything, and that is so hard for rich people like us. The more we have, the harder it is to let go, Lord. We want to surrender. If not, Lord we ask that you would, through difficulty, shake us up, wake us up, to see spiritually reality, that you are a far gentler, kinder master than Money.
Set us free. The financial excess that you give to us, we want to steward it well. If we have food, clothing, and drink, all the extra, what do you want us to do with it, Lord? Help us to be prayerful. Are there people in our family with genuine financial needs? If we don’t provide for them, we are worse than unbelievers. Reveal them to us. If there are people in our family who have needs, we ask that you would awaken us to their need, that we would be the ones who meet their needs.
Lord, if there’s something for your kingdom that you want us to get involved with, or that you want us to fund, I pray that you’ll show it to us. Maybe our lives will make sense. This is why I have such access. It’s not for me to be comfortable and for me to be the provider, for me to live in luxury. No, that is not why you give us money. You give us money to provide genuine needs of people. And supply the needs of missionaries and pastors, and especially the poor among us people who don’t have food in the body of Christ. Lord, those of us who have more, shouldn’t we share with our brothers and sisters around the world? Show them to us.
Who are they, Lord? We can’t just do nothing. Plus, we can’t do everything. Show us who. Which church, which ministry, which orpah, which widow in the world do you want us to meet their specific need? You have somebody in mind for us. If it’s not in America because we’re so well taken care of in this country, where in the world do you want us to send our missions fund, or our personal finances to meet the needs of the poor in the world? Show it to us, Lord. Thank you, Lord, for speaking. May none of us leave here sad because we cannot let go of our money, our possessions. Keep pursuing us. You love us. That is why you’re bringing this message to us. Thank you! In Jesus Name, Amen.