As I prepare for worship this Sunday I am reading the story of the rich man who ran up to Jesus and knelt at his feet, as told in Mark’s gospel.
Though we regularly hear it said that money is the root of all evil, this story reminds me that, as John Wesley, our founder said to his followers, money is actually good, in the hands of God’s children it can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and defend the oppressed. He believed that we should gain all we can, as often as we can, but then give all we can.
John Wesley acted on his beliefs, and in his lifetime he kept his expenses to a minimum and was able to give away over £30,000, a huge sum of money in the 18th century.
The problem for the rich man in the gospel story was that he believed that his comfort and security came from his wealth and possessions, and not from God. He could not accept that by sharing his wealth with those that needed it, he could trust that God would provide all the comfort and security he really needed.
The gospel writer Mark tells us that the rich man departed from Jesus shocked and grieving.
Despite the rich man’s failings, we must not however miss how Jesus reacts to him. He looked at him, and loved him. Jesus’ love was not conditional on the rich man’s answer, and we too enjoy that same unconditional love from Jesus.
Lord, as we go through life we are encouraged to spend our money on possessions and luxuries we know deep down we do not really need. Help us to think about how we use our money, help us to use it wisely in your service, knowing that you will provide all the comfort and security we really need. Help us to remember John Wesley’s words, “Not, how much of my money will I give to God, but, how much of God’s money will I keep for myself?”