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Mark 156 - Mission Impossible

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Mark 10:24-27

In 1966, Mission Impossible[1] crashed into our living rooms. It’s now famous theme song let us know that we were about to be excited and entertained. Part of its allure was that it took what we thought to be true, twisted it, and made it into something new.

Our assumptions drive lots of what we think to be true. The way we think, the assumptions about life, really sets the tone and direction for life. And this is true for having possessions.

We think that if we have lots of stuff that we’ll be happy. That we’ll be carefree. That we’ll live lives of fulfillment and purpose. But possessions, wealth, and education are no guarantees for a happy, fulfilled live. Some studies show that symptoms of depression are higher among people with higher socioeconomic status than those with a lower status[2].

This ties in with why the disciples were amazed at Jesus’ statement.

How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!

Mark 10:23

The assumption of the day was that riches were the blessing of God for being his obedient and blessed child. That assumption has not gone anywhere but up. Today, the assumption is that we need to seek the physical blessings of God, and that he will deliver the goods if we ask.

But what are we asking for? Are we really going to be any happier? Will wealth give us meaning, purpose, contentment? I agree with Jesus that it doesn’t.

Wealth is almost a guarantee that life will have its challenges, problems, difficulties. They may not be where your next meal is coming from, but there will be significant mountains to climb.

And the most significant mountain to climb, according to Jesus, is getting and maintaining a deep, personal, intimate relationship with God. A connection with God where we look forward more to heaven than the next purchase from Amazon. The next house. The next car. The next phone.

The choice before us is simple; to believe what the world tells us about riches and possessions, or to believe Jesus? Will we live like how our society and culture tell us, or how Jesus tells us?

Think of it like this, who will you stand with? Stand with Jesus or someone, something else. Position yourself with, beside Jesus or what people tell you? Align yourself with Jesus or what your social media feed is feeding you?

Solomon said the same thing.

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Proverbs 23:4,5

Look at how Solomon describes things, riches: they are temporary. They don’t last. They are here today and gone tomorrow. But more than just disappearing, they actually leave you, they fly away from you. They’ll not stay close beside you when life, family, and friends crumble all around you.

The old hymn says it well.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace[3].

It’s not a Mission Impossible. It’s not about multiple choices, but one choice. The choice is either for Jesus or something else. It’s an either or decision. We choose to live and choose for the one who came to love us, or for something that cannot.

So, where will you take your stand?

[1] [2] The adjusted prevalence of depressive symptoms was higher in the region with a high socioeconomic status (23.1%) than in the region with a lower economic status (16.6%)(p<0.001). [3]


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