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Worldly Riches

Briefing: How tightly are you hanging on to your “stuff”?

I remember getting my first new vehicle. I had only been a police officer for about a year and had gotten to a point where I could afford a new vehicle. It got stolen a month later. I cried.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Matthew 19:16-30.

On the Street: As a general rule, law enforcement officers across the country are not the best paid. When you count the hours spent on academy training, annual in-service, intoxilyzer and crime scene certifications, shooting qualifications, annual legislative updates and fitness requirements, it puts into perspective how important it is to keep our skills sharpened continuously. We have as much recurrent training and constant re-certifications as any job out there.

We also have a risk factor to our job that most people don’t have. I don’t have to convince you that law enforcement is an underpaid profession. In this passage, Jesus tells His disciples, “it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven”. Normally, this would not give me cause for concern. However, if you are living and working in the United States of America, you are a rich person compared to the rest of the earth’s population.

A quick Google search shows that America is the richest country in the world. America’s gross national income is the highest of all countries, with Americans taking home $9,708,000,000,000 per year. The average income worldwide is $7,000 a year. The average U.S. income is $44,000. Like it or not, we are the rich and are susceptible to being the people Jesus is warning. Americans are pleasure driven. We have more possessions and material items than any country in the world.

My son asked me a question the other day. He said, “Dad, if our house was on fire and you only had time to grab one possession, what would you take?” Wow, I have a lot of stuff. I know what my one cherished possession is but I like the other stuff, too. What stuff do you have that keeps you from following Christ? What stuff do you do that keeps you from going to church? What stuff occupies your time, money and attention? Do you realize that when we die, all this stuff will no longer be important?

You may not feel like it, but you are the rich young ruler. Jesus is asking you to drop everything you are doing and follow Him. It may be in your home, community, on the job or something else.

Highlights from this Read: Notice how Jesus answers the rich young ruler when he asks how to “get eternal life”. Jesus tells him what he must do to “enter life”. This existence as we know it is not life; it is only a tryout. I want to follow Christ and enter real life.

Jesus said it is hard for a rich person to enter heaven. He did not sat it was impossible. Rich people have a tendency to get attached to their stuff. Poor people don’t have as much stuff to get attached to.

Investigational Resources: Mark 10:17-30 and Luke 18:18-30. Jesus tells His disciples that with man, this is impossible. Philippians 4:13 tells us that we can do all things through Christ! With man, it is impossible; with Jesus, all things are possible.

Officer Safety Principle: When Jesus asks you to sell everything and follow Him, will you go away sad because you have too much stuff or will you be obedient and follow Him?

from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!