IF I WERE A RICH MAN…

Luke – Wide Open Doors!
 
Luke 18 dear GodDear God, you made many, many poor people.
I realize, of course, that it’s no shame to be poor
But it’s no great honor, either.
So what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?
 
If I were a rich man,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dumb
 
All day long I’d biddy-biddy-bum
If I were a wealthy man
I wouldn’t have to work hard,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dumb
If I were a biddy-biddy rich,
Daidle deedle daidle daidle man
 
I’d build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen
Right in the middle of the town,
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
There would be one long staircase just going up
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.
 
Luke 18 tevye pointingThe most important men in town will come to fawn on me
They will ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise
“If you please, Reb Tevye?”
“Pardon me, Reb Tevye?”
Posing problems that would cross a rabbi’s eyes
Ya va voy, ya va voy voy vum
 
And it won’t make one bit of difference
If I answer right or wrong
When you’re rich they think you really know.
If I were rich, I’d have the time that I lack
 
To sit in the synagogue and pray,
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall,
And I’d discuss the learned books with the holy men
Seven hours every day
That would be the sweetest thing of all
Oy!
 
If I were a rich man,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dumb
All day long I’d biddy-biddy-bum
 
LUke 18 tevyeIf I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dumb
 
Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am
Would it spoil some vast, eternal plan,
If I were a wealthy man?
 
Tevye was my dad’s favorite character in the movie “Fiddler on the Roof”. He watched the movie many times. Sometimes, in the privacy of our home, my dad would burst into this song and do the little dance. I would giggle and my mom would remark with a smile, “Oh Vernon…”
 
As soon as I saw the title of our passage, this memory flashed in my mind. So I looked up all the lyrics, because sometimes my dad would make up his own lyrics. I didn’t print all the lyrics here as it is a lot! Tevye is tired of being poor and asks God to bless him with being rich. But what he is really asking for is money, power, influence and notoriety in his community and beyond. He says nothing of helping others with his riches.
 
Jesus is talking to a “Tevye” with riches as he forces the man to look at his heart, mind and soul. Jesus is not impressed with his riches, but He is passionate for his soul. Because Jesus, God in human form, sees right through his pretense in wanting to “follow” Jesus, He asks him to do what the rich man clings to the most…his wealth.
 
Luke 18, New Living Translation
The Rich Man
Luke 18 rich to Christ18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
 
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. 20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’”
 
21 The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
 
Luke 18 rich22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
 
23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.
 
24 When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
Luke 18 camel.jpg
26 Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?”
 
27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
 
28 Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.”
 
29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
 
THINK ABOUT IT…
 
Luke 18 went awayThe rich young ruler (Matt. 19:20) may be the only man in the Gospels who came to the feet of Jesus and went away in worse condition than when he came. And yet he had so much in his favor! He was moral and religious, earnest and sincere, and probably would have qualified for membership in the average church. Yet he refused to follow Jesus Christ and instead went his own way in great sorrow.
 
HOLY PAUSE…
 
Lord, examine my heart…See if there is anything wrong that needs to be set right. Holy Spirit convict me of wrong thinking and behaving.
 
What am I asking for at the feet of Jesus?
 
What was wrong with the rich man? In a word: DISHONESTY. In spite of the fact that he came to the right Person, asked the right question, and received the right answer, he made the wrong decision. Why? Because he was not honest with God or with himself. Therefore, he would not do what he was commanded to do. He was a superficial young man who said one thing but did another.
 
Consider the areas in which the young rich man was dishonest:
 
WHO IS GOOD
Rabbis were called “Master” (Teacher), but it was most unusual for a rabbi to be called “good.” The Jews reserved the word good for God. This explains why our Lord asked the young man what he meant, for if he really believed that Jesus was “good,” then he had to confess that Jesus was God. By asking this question, our Lord was not denying His deity but affirming it. He was testing the young man to see if he really understood what he had just said.
 
Luke 18 sorrowHIS HEART
His subsequent behavior proved that the young ruler did not believe that Jesus Christ was God. If he really thought he was in the presence of Almighty God, why did he argue politely about the law, brag about his character, and then refuse to obey the Word? Surely he knew that God sees the heart and knows all things!
 
HIS VIEW OF SIN
He also had a superficial view of his own sin. No doubt the young man sincerely tried to keep the law; in fact, this may have been what brought him to the feet of Jesus (Gal. 3:24). Jesus did not quote the law to him as a means of salvation, because obedience to the law does not save us. He held the law before the young man as a mirror to reveal his sins (Rom. 3:19–20; Gal. 2:21; 3:21).
 
HOLY PAUSE…
 
Am I honest in my relationship with God?
 
What IS my heart’s passion and motivation for living life?
 
Oy! The young man looked into the mirror and would not see the stains and blemishes in his life. Jesus knew the young man’s heart, so instead of preaching to him about covetousness, He asked him to do something that a covetous person would not do.
 
Nobody is saved by giving all his wealth to the poor, but nobody can be saved who will not repent of his sins and turn away from them. This young man was possessed by the love of money and he would not let go.
 
HOLY PAUSE…
Luke 18 fist of money
What am I clinging to with clenched fists?
 
What do I need to let go of today?
 
The young man thought that eternal life came to those who “did something” (Luke 18:18), which was a typical Jewish conviction (Luke 18:9–12). But when Jesus gave him something to do, he refused to obey! He wanted salvation on his terms, not God’s, so he turned and went away in great sorrow.
 
Like Tevye, the disciples couldn’t quite understand why Jesus said it is difficult, almost impossible, for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. They were Jews and the Jews believed that riches were a mark of God’s blessing. “If rich people can’t be saved,” they reasoned, “what hope is there for the rest of us?”
 
BUT HERE’S THE POINT, TEVYE…
 
It is not possessing riches that keeps people out of heaven, for Abraham, David, and Solomon were wealthy men. It is being possessed by riches and trusting them that makes salvation difficult for the wealthy. Wealth gives people a false sense of success and security, and when people are satisfied with themselves, they feel no need for God.
 
The rich young ruler is a warning to people who want a Christian faith that does not change their values or upset their lifestyle. Jesus does not command every seeking sinner to sell everything and give to the poor, but He does put His finger of conviction on any area in our lives about which we are dishonest.
 
Luke 18 bow before HimDear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
I may not have wealth in the world’s eyes, but I may have something that still stands in the way of our rich and pure relationship. I repent of holding on to my time. You gave me this time on earth. I give it all back to you with unclenched fists. Guide my every thought and action. Give me wisdom in my time managed by you. Help me to see your will and purpose and pursue that which you planned for me long ago. Continue to transform me so that I will bear the fruits of Your Holy Spirit, the characteristics of you in me.
In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
This entry was posted in Blessings, Christian Living, Christian Perspective, Discipleship, Embrace, Encouragement, Faith, Following Jesus, Forgiveness, Grace, harvest, heaven, Holy Spirit, Hope, hospitality, hugs, insight, investments, Jesus, joy, Leadership, Listen, lost but found, Love, marriage, Mercy, ministry, Praise, Prayer, relationship with God, repent, Revelation of Jesus, Salvation, Searching, Teaching, temptations, Thanksgiving, Training, Transformation, trust in God, Truth, Uncategorized, Unconditional love, waiting on God, wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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