There is not much use my railing against the deceitfulness of riches. It has all been said before. We have heard it often. Theoretically we all know how deceptive wealth can be. But whether we do much about it is another question. However, Mark 10 prompts me to ask myself, “Where do I find my true self? Where is my life anchored?” I hear God whispering to me that the genuine, fundamental and basic ground of my being is in him. I was made to abide in God as God abides in me just as all the disciples of Jesus are invited to abide in him as Christ abides in them. If I depart from this basic ME, I feel insecure. I reach out for other supports. It could be my possessions or my abilities. Alienated from the ground of my being, I look for substitute gods. Isn’t that the situation highlighted in the story of the rich young ruler and the subsequent teaching about how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God? Living in the kingdom of God is impossibly difficult for the person who is not being true to his or her fundamental nature, that is, who they are in God. Duped by the sinfulness that corrupts God’s good creation, we can all fall prey to the deceitfulness of riches. It’s not money and possessions alone that are deceitful. Academic achievement, competency in any field of human endeavour, social standing, self-pride or self-sufficiency can all become substitutes for the One in whom we live and move and have our being. Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God. Nothing else will do. When we are not living true to God we are not living true to our real selves. When we rely on our wealth for security, we are not living the life that we were meant to live. What look like sacrifices we make in doing this turn out to be not sacrifices at all (Mark 10:28-31). We receive abundantly more than we give up in this life with even more to come later when we live true to the person that we are in God.
- How do you feel about the idea that our real selves are who we are in God?
- If we all have a real self then do we also have false selves? Where do they try to find their security and peace?
- Why is it so hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God (Mark 10:23)?
- In your experience, how true is 1 Timothy 6:10, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”?