A few days ago, I wrote about the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Mark. I pointed out that just two chapters earlier a man had come to Jesus to find eternal life and Jesus invited him to join Him but first the man had to sell all his possessions. The man went away sorrowing because he had many possessions, and they were what was important to him. Remember that Christ told us not to accumulate treasure on earth but treasure in heaven. This is a hard story for many but it has another meaning even more important. The great truth of this story lies in the way it illumines the meaning of eternal life. Eternal life is life such as God Himself lives. The word for “eternal” in the Biblical Greek is “aionios” which does not mean lasting forever; it means such as befits God, or such as belongs to God, or such as is characteristic of God. The great characteristic of God is that He so loved and He gave. Therefore the essence of eternal life is not a carefully calculated keeping of the commandments and the rules and the regulations; eternal life is based on an attitude of loving and sacrificial generosity to others. If we would find eternal life, if we would find happiness, joy, satisfaction, peace of mind and serenity of heart, it shall not be by piling up a credit balance with God through keeping commandments and observing rules and regulations and certainly not through accumulating wealth; it shall be through reproducing God's attitude of love and care to others. To follow Christ and in grace and generosity to serve those for whom Christ died are one and the same thing.
In the end the man turned away in great distress. He refused the challenge, because he had great possessions. His tragedy was that he loved things more than he loved people; and he loved himself more than he loved others. All those who put things before people and self before others, must turn their backs on Jesus Christ and all that He offers. Only by loving and serving others can we find the wealth we seek. You know I didn’t write the Gospel of Mark, I’m just pointing out some of what is written there including the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. That’s what makes them important, real, valid, and the way He teaches us to live.