Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
~ Matthew 19:16-26
I read an article yesterday entitled “The Best Dollar You Will Ever Spend” on a web magazine. The article focused on how Nobel laureates have come up with the eight investments that will help the world the most. They determined that investing in micronutrient supplements is the number one way to help people, as a $10 donation would create $170 of health benefits.
Pretty impressive stuff.
The reason being that if your diet lacks things like zinc and vitamin A, your children are at very high risk for the common infections that result in the deaths of two million children every year.
The term that the author gave micronutrient deficiency really struck me. He called it “hidden hunger.” It is called hidden hunger because it isn’t the flashiest cause out there and not a lot of media focus or celebrity attention is given to it. But this hidden hunger kills so many people every year and we don’t even notice.
I think that we, as Americans, suffer from a hidden hunger, too. No, it isn’t a lack of micronutrients, although sometimes a hurried diet will lead to this. The majority of us aren’t likely to die from lack of anything – we have access to clean water, government support and free education. The fact is, most of us are literally buried in stuff. Our wealth is so vast that storage unit rentals are now a multi-billion dollar industry. I’m as guilty as the rest – I have a basement full of things I don’t use. Needless to say, it isn’t our lack of things that I’m talking about.
Our hidden hunger is much deeper.
In the parable of the rich young ruler, Jesus isn’t telling us that He doesn’t like rich people. In fact, wealthy people can do amazing things for the kingdom of God, because they have the resources to support missionaries and ministries that really need finances in order to function. What Jesus zeros in on is the fact that we are so enamored with our earthly existence that we have trouble letting go of what is tangible to follow Him.
What we really hunger for is spiritual nutrition, but it can be difficult to see past the clutter to understand what it is we really lack. We thirst for God, but try to find Him in self-help books written by airbrushed authors. We long for intimacy with God, but can’t here Him over the television. We yearn for fellowship with other believers, but find that our jam-packed schedules don’t allow for it.
As you continue going about your week, make sure you take the time to be spiritually fed. Meet with a fellow believer for prayer. Read your Bible and spend some time soaking up His wisdom and love. Don’t go another day denying yourself the nutrition that your soul desperately needs.
(As I tell my students – give credit where it’s due. You can read the article I mentioned HERE.)