For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
I Timothy 6:10
A man came up to Jesus and asked him how he could receive eternal life. Jesus replied that he must keep the commandments and quoted several, omitting the commandment thou shalt not covet. Quickly the man responded that he had kept all the commandments and asked Jesus if there was any other area where he still fell short. Jesus told him, Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor. The young man went away sad because he had great wealth.
(Matthew 19:16-22) Jesus had purposefully left out the commandment, “Do not covet,” because He knew that wealth was a stumbling block for this man.
Jesus never says that wealth or having possessions is a bad thing; He simply points out that the love of things over the love of Christ is a stumbling block in our relationship with Him. I imagine that the man went away burdened with the love for his things and yet he missed the one thing that could bring him all that he ever needed – Jesus Christ.
Peter recognized that Jesus and His message were stumbling blocks for some people: Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for. (I Peter 2:7-8) Christ, the Cornerstone, was rejected by some, becoming a stumbling block; but for believers, He was and still is precious. The man who came to Jesus desiring eternal life found Christ’s message to be a stumbling block. We don’t know for certain, but it appears that he was unwilling to surrender his whole heart to Christ; material possessions had left no room for Jesus, the Cornerstone.
How do you view your money and possessions? Do they interfere with your relationship with Christ? I have found that possessions can easily slip into center stage in my life. Possessions can vie for the chief place in my heart where Jesus longs to be. I must always check myself and ask if anything that I own, anything that I have achieved, has slipped into the place where Christ desires to be. Let us keep checking our hearts so that the things of this world will not take the place of God or interfere with our relationship with God. Money in and of itself is not evil; it is the love of money that causes us to stumble.
Forgive me where the things of this world crowd You out. Help me to surrender daily all that You have given me back to You. Help me to remember that all that I have is a gift from You to be used for Your glory.
In Jesus’ name, Amen