In Evangelism Explosion we were taught a question to ask to introduce the subject of the Gospel: If you were to die tonight and arrive at the gate of heraven, and God asked, “Why should I let you into My heaven?” what would your answer be? You can imagine the variety of responses that would be given. And that answer would then show us where to begin in haring our faith with that person.
A young man approached Jesus asking how to get into heaven. He’d kept the commandments since he was a child, so he thought it was a given that he was in. But Jesus looked into his heart and saw that he loved something more than he loved God. “Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack’ He said, ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.’ At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” (Mark 10:21-22 NIV)
Was this a condemnation of his wealth? Not at all! But in that moment of looking into the young man’s heart, Jesus saw that his money, his possessions, his status would always take the place of first importance in his heart and life. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people quote, “Money is the root of all evil,” When I Timothy 6:10 actually says: “For the love of money is the root of all evil:” This young man put that love ahead of all others. He had made money his god.
Money is not bad. It is necessary to acquire what we need to live: food, clothing, shelter. Just as pleasure, entertainment, popularity, status, family, friends, position are all not bad things, in and of themselves, but if they are all we think about, if they become the center of our very existence, then they have taken God’s place in our lives; they have become our god. “I am the Lord your God…You shall have NO OTHER gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:2-3 NIV)
God is a loving God, but He is also a jealous God who does not tolerate having His place usurped by anything else. Anything that take His place, central in your life, is your god. Ask Him to help you give it to Him. Give Him first place. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the Gospel will fail to receive as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30 NIV) Give it all to God and trust Him to provide what you need.