This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go.
(Luke 18:23 MSG)
The Gospel of Luke, which deals quite a bit with the subject of money, tells us that we can’t serve both God and money (16:13). Ironically, this message was directed at the Pharisees, who Luke tells us were “a money-obsessed bunch” (v.14). For years I read the story of the rich official and thought it was unusual. How could a man claim to have great love for God, yet have trouble letting go of his wealth? But it all began to make sense when I met people just like him. Good men and women who no doubt loved God, but who also loved money. People who gave up meaningful relationships and peace of mind for the sake of money.
Perhaps Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol, picks up where Luke’s story of the rich official leaves off. The wealthy businessman, Ebenezer Scrooge, held on very tight to his money too. But after a visit from the three ghosts, he eventually came to the realization that he needed relationships and that people can’t take their money with them when they die. This truth transformed his life and it’s bound to do the same for us when we let go of the love of money, so we can love God.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” -Jesus (Luke 12:34)