“Give your wealth to the poor!” says Jesus. It’s not that it’s wrong to be wealthy; it isn’t. In today’s reading Jesus is helping a particular young man see something about himself he’d rather not see. Wealthy, poor, or anywhere in between, it’s easy to pin our hopes and dreams on our money. But money can’t save us, not in this world or in the next. Out of love, Jesus is warning us about the sin of greed.
We don’t know if that rich young man ever came to faith in Jesus. The last we hear of him is that he went away sad. It’s possible that he repented of his greed later and was brought to trust in Jesus the Savior as the only way to heaven. We just don’t know.
What we do know is that we don’t have to go away from these words sad. The reason Jesus warns us about greed is so that he can fix our eyes on the treasures of heaven.
The world is full of advertisements that scream for our attention. Full color ads and carefully worded slogans are designed to grab our attention, then our hearts, then our wallets. But here, tucked away in the tenth chapter of the book of Mark, God offers us a treasure worth more than all the wealth in the world, a treasure we could never earn, not in a million years. The same Jesus who lovingly warns us about greed goes eventually to his cross and pays the full debt for all of the sins of the world. Now, forgiven in Jesus and trusting in his salvation, we have God’s love and blessing in this life and the next. By his death and resurrection, Jesus has done something as impossible as squeezing a camel through the eye of a needle. He saved us.