If you have followed Jesus for a while, you probably noticed the raw wisdom in His words: “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 19:23 New Living Translation) It’s one thing to attempt a serious conversation about God’s love and what He can do for a person who is homeless or hungry or hurting; it’s quite another to pursue a similar discussion with someone who happens to be resource-rich. You may not have a rich uncle or aunt or cousin or sibling or neighbor, but someone in your circle is far from God and has plenty of distractions to cloud his or her condition. Engaging them with why they need Jesus and how much His love could mean to them can be exponentially challenging.
While I will talk about this to our Stone Ridge Church family this weekend, here are a few thoughts on the subject:
- Even Jesus acknowledged the challenge of reaching those who have much.
- People with resources are often targets of those who would try to benefit from their influence, their fame and/or their wealth. Consequently, they are naturally skeptical.
- This who have much leverage their wealth to create walls that insulate them from connection to the outside world. Their private lives are frequently quite different from the people they are in public.
- Jesus’ promise in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord ’s favor has come.” (New Living Translation), can be great news. However, His promise will be ignored until someone realizes that he/she is poor, captive, blind, oppressed and needs God’s favor. We must pray for them to recognize their need.
- Many of the resource-rich find it hard to trust others. We who follow Christ must be willing to spend the time necessary to build a good name before them. Proverbs is a great place to start with practical ways for us to do this.
- The Bible is full of examples in which God transformed those who came from wealth or influence, suddenly realized their deep needs and were changed by God’s power. 2 Kings 5 gives the story of Naaman, the commander of a great army who developed leprosy. Even in his condition, he wasn’t ready to humble himself. Someone loved him enough to confront his pride; as a result, God not only healed him, but transformed his heart.
You and I are surrounded by people like Naaman. They have great needs that get lost in the shadow of their ample resources. As we open our eyes and our hearts, we will be amazed at how many of them encounter the powerful love of God and receive the gift of new life through Christ.
If you have resource-rich friends, many of them are still open to an invitation to Easter at your church. This may be the one weekend a year when they are open, so we much make the most of those opportunities. “Take Me To Your Leader” is our topic at Stone Ridge Church as we journey toward Easter weekend. This week we will unpack even more about how to reach those with resources. Hope you can join us! If not, catch the podcast.