What Wealth We Have!
by Stuart Malkin 10 May 2022
Reading: Matthew 19:16-22 The Rich Young Man
Once a man came to Jesus, “Teacher,” he asked “what good thing must I do to receive eternal life?” “Why do you ask me what is good?” answered Jesus. “There is only one who is good. Keep the commandments if you want eternal life.”
What commandments?” he asked. Jesus answered “Do not commit murder, do not commit adultery, do not steel, do not accuse falsely, respect your father and your mother and love your neighbour as yourself.” “I have obeyed all these commandments,”. the young man replied. “What else do I need to do?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor and you will have riches in heaven, then come and follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sad because he was very rich.
I was thinking recently about what the historians of the future or even the children of today will recall the events of recent times. Hopefully it will not be all doom and gloom, as much has been learnt. Whatever has happened day by day and week by week in the media, there has been enough to darken and confuse ordinary people, but if you are fortunate enough to look out onto a garden, onto pots, or even as seen on tv's Gardener's World there can be a joy in seeing the smallest of growth (even weeds). In January the tiny snowdrops popped their delicate heads up quickly followed by crocus of yellow, white and blue. Then the real signs of Spring are here as the daffodils of white and yellow spread and spread as far as the eye can see. Oh what joy! Hopefully the historians will recall that nature seems to be better even though we are in difficult times. This is real wealth that hasn’t had to rely on any political or scientific decisions to keep us in an improving world. Sitting outside, the sky at even this early time of year, is blue and the birds of the air are on the wing. They stop to look at each other and their voices have started to take up almost a choir of joy. Returning to the progression of flowers, the resplendent colours that have taken the place of daffodil's drooping heads, are the grand heads of tulips.
It is rumoured that these resplendent flowers almost ruined individuals in Holland in the 16/17th century and to such a level that some people lost their homes. Why? It was felt that this bulb was worth so much more, in some people’s minds, than gold!!!
The well known reading about the rich young man rings many bells in society that we have got used to this world of greed. However these times have shown that the alternative can be achieved. Hopefully, when the history books are written, they will remember that the sharing, caring and loving society is not dead. The man in the bible story was wanting everything beyond this world but without giving up his riches. If only he had thought before going away he could have had the joy of following Christ.
Perhaps the appropriate phrase in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice “All that glitters is not gold” would have been have helped this young man 2000 years ago and helps us even today.
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Father God we thank you for all that is around us, but we thank you more that you sent your Son Jesus to be with us. We pray for anyone who has not had the joy of having him in their lives.