Bible Reading: Mark 10:1-31
It is wise to teach a child about the true and correct value of money and possessions while they are young. It is a much harder lesson for them to learn…once their hands are full.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Have you ever heard someone try to make a point by really exaggerating it? They say something outlandish to emphasize what they mean. It’s called “hyperbole”…”hyper” means beyond and “bole” means to throw. Put them together and it means, “to throw beyond the target”. When you use hyperbole…you throw beyond the target by saying something that goes beyond what you really mean. Hyperbole is a figure of speech. That means that you say something in such a way that is has a meaning that is different from its literal meaning. Why would someone do that? In order to drive home a point. For instance, they might say:
- I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.
- I had a ton of chores to do.
- She is as thin as a toothpick.
- Our new house cost a bazillion dollars.
- We are so poor that we don’t have two cents to rub together.
- This car is as fast as lightning.
- He’s got tons of video games.
- You could have knocked me over with a feather.
- Her brain is the size of a pea.
- Grandpa is older than dirt.
- My mom is going to kill me.
- Smith has been teaching here since the Stone Age.
- He knows everything about math.
- My dad is always working.
- That was the easiest test in the world.
- My shoes are killing me.
- He was skinny enough to jump through a keyhole.
- She never stops talking.
- I’ve told you a million times not to do that.
- He is the best player of all time.
- It is so hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk.
- You are walking slower than a snail.
- Everybody knows that.
- My mom works her fingers to the bone.
- His stomach is a bottomless pit.
- Her smile was a mile wide.
- I ate so much at Thanksgiving, I must weigh more than a whale.
- We waited for centuries for the latest game to be released.
- It will only take me two seconds to get there.
- The mall is big enough to have its own zip code.
You know those things are not literally true…but you they were said in such a way that it really made the point. Imagine how dull our conversations would be if we didn’t use figures of speech. Which one of the following sentences would make the point clearer to your brother, #1, or #2?
- “You are disturbing me.”
- “You’re driving me nuts!”
Oh, now it makes sense. They both mean the same thing. But #2 says it in a way that your brother would more easily understand what you meant (of course, he’d probably just smile and say, “I know” and keep right on doing it…but, that’s part of what it means to be a brother). A figure of speech can help us say something in such a way that what we mean is better understood.
Sometimes Jesus said things that left His disciples saying, “Whaaat? Wait a minute.” They couldn’t believe their ears. What He said went completely against what they had been taught, before. Things like, “Love your enemies,” “Pray for those who persecute you,” and “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek.”
At other times, Jesus used figures of speech, like hyperbole…and His disciples did not realize it. He said things that made them scratch their heads and say, “You’re going to have to give a little more detail on that one.” Such as when He said, “If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out.” Ooouch! Really? Did He really say that? Yes. Did He really mean that? No. It was hyperbole. He was not telling them to actually gouge their eyeball out. His point was to show how serious sin is. You realize how serious it is to gouge your eye out…that is how serious sin is.
Another time, Jesus said that it is harder for a rich man to get into Heaven…than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Can you get that picture in your brain? Someone is actually trying to squeeze a camel through the eye of a sewing needle. Oooh, that’s going to be a mess! Impossible, right? That’s the point. Here it is: It is as likely that you can force a camel through the eye of a sewing needle…as it is likely that a rich man can go to Heaven. Don’t keep focusing on the camel and the needle…you’ve got that part…let it go. Its purpose is to lead us to ask the question: Why is it that hard for a rich man to go to Heaven? You see, the Jewish leaders taught that riches, and money, and property, and possessions…were a sign of God’s blessings. And don’t get me wrong…they can be. But, they aren’t always. Just because someone has all of those things is no guarantee that they are the result of God’s blessings. And in fact, for some people, maybe many people, instead of being a blessing…they become a curse. Why? Because their entire life has become completely wrapped up in them…and they are not willing to give them up for anything…not even for God. We have to be careful about riches. If we are not careful, instead of us owning them…they own us. They control us. They determine what we do. They decide what we value. They choose our friends. Our possessions own us. That is the kind of rich man that Jesus is talking about.
Now, are you that rich? You may be thinking, “Are you crazy! I’m not rich. I don’t drive a Bentley. I don’t own a yacht. I don’t live in a mansion.” But it’s not really about how much you have…it’s about how much whatever you have, has you. How much control over your life do the things that you value have over you?
One day, a rich young man came to Jesus. He wanted to know how to get into Heaven. Jesus knew that he had a problem…his possessions possessed him. He told him to sell all that He had and then to come and follow Him. The man loved his possessions…they filled his heart. As much as he wanted to…he just couldn’t do it. He couldn’t let them go. He turned and walked away from Jesus. It’s just that hard…for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.
Here is a question you need to answer: Is there anything, or anyone, that you would be unwilling to leave behind in order to follow Jesus? You see, it isn’t a matter of how much it is, but how important it is to you. If there is anything more important to you than Jesus…then you’re in the same fix that the rich man was in. Think about it. Be careful. Don’t ever allow your riches…to own you. If you do…it’s going to be a tight squeeze getting through Heaven’s gate. Just sayin’.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,