The Rich Young Ruler
Matthew 19:16-19 (The Message translation)
“Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.” The man asked, “What in particular?” Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honour your father and mother, and love your neighbour as you do yourself.”
“The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?””
“If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”
I woke up this morning with this scripture on my heart and I was reminded of a place I was at 18 months ago that really turned my world upside down.
After I sold our family home, I had some decisions to make concerning my future, and after looking at countless smaller homes to buy on the same market, nothing seemed to feel quite right for me in my now ‘single’ status. My dear friend who also happened to be my real estate agent, inspired me with looking at all sorts of homes, and one day she showed me some sections in a new sub division; I came home just knowing that my heart was ready to build again. I had done it once and was ready for a new challenge. I love the building process; it gives me an opportunity to use my creative talents in a different way, and there are so many exciting options to consider when building a new house from scratch.
So…I booked my builder, moved in to a cute little rental home for 12 months and began to plan my next home.
As I do with all major decisions in life, I sought wise counsel from my Heavenly Father, and often I would wake up in the morning with a new vision of how certain things were going to work with the house plan. I had downloads on the bedrooms and bathrooms and an amazing plan for the garden began to evolve in my mind. My builder and I agreed on most of ‘my’ ideas and the draughtsman actually took my rough floor plan and made it into reality. It was like she was inside my head- she saw exactly what I had imagined. I bless that woman! What I had framed up in my mind became the actual blueprint for the house plan. I found the whole process fascinating and fun.
I was looking forward to starting as soon as possible, knowing that I had money from my previous house sale tucked away for the project. I need to add here that there was a little voice at the back of my mind saying ‘Don’t get too attached to this home, this is just a temporary dwelling’, but I pushed that aside in my excitement to get started.
Can you imagine how I felt the day that I got the costings for the house and the price was considerably more than what I had expected? I was quite upset! I spent the whole day depressed and angry at God. HE had given me the floor plan, HE had told me what to put in the house, and HE had dropped in all these cool ideas in the middle of the night for me to consider, and now HE was quite a few thousand dollars short on the budget. I squirmed, and tried to decide what I could cut out of the plan. Eventually I came to the conclusion that the house build could still be done, but it was going to cost me every last cent I had in the bank. God had never yet let me down, but He was sure pushing every barrier and every mind-set I had about being a wise steward of what you have. Overnight I came to a place of perfect peace, but the process to come to that place was not what I expected.
The morning after the bomb had been dropped with costings, I took every quote that I had written on every piece of paper, and I sat up in my bed and laid the whole lot out before the Lord. I remember saying to Him, ‘ This was your idea, I know the plan is perfect, but I just don’t know how I can afford to do this and have money left over to live off once the house is finished without being flat broke’
I heard Him more clearly than I have EVER heard Him in my life. This is how the conversation went…
God: ” You know that money you have tucked away in your savings account?”
Me: “You mean the money I have put aside for my rainy day account that is my safety net?”
God: “Yes the one that has $100,000 in it”
Me: “Yes I know the one”
God: “I want you to take $50,000 out of that account and give it away”
Me: “You’ve got to be kidding!?”
God: “Do you trust me?”
Side note…imagine some major wrestling going on here, stomping of feet, and quite a few tears…because in the MIDST of that moment, I KNEW that God was challenging me on my attitude of lack, of not having enough, and of not trusting HIM for HIS provision. It was going to mean using every last cent I had to build this house, with no guarantee that there was going to be any more money coming in any time soon.
I really believe the Lord say that if I gave this money away to some friends who at that time needed $50k a whole lot more than I did right then, HE would take care of the things that I would need when I would eventually need it the most.
It was one of the most sobering, loving conversations that I have ever had with my Heavenly Father. In that moment I had complete peace. I knew I was venturing in to a whole new path of trust that wasn’t just about building a house.
Psalm 127:1 tells us ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it”.
I discussed the conversation I had had with the Lord, with a close confidante and we came to the conclusion that I just had to do what the Lord was asking me to do. I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
I accepted the costing plan and signed the contract.
I gave away the money I had been directed to give away, and what a blessing it was to see the relief on my friends faces, that their current crisis was no more, because I CHOSE TO BE OBEDIENT TO WHAT THE LORD ASKED ME TO DO.
That is not the end of the story; the rest is for another time. But I know that from this experience, the Lord told me that if I could be faithful in giving what I had, He would be faithful in giving me what He had when I would need it the most.
If it wasn’t for God’s Word, which is where I go to when I need reassurance and confirmation that I’m on the right track, I could not move forward with any big decisions I need to make. His direction comes alive inside of me. I just know because I know because I KNOW that He will never leave me or forsake me.
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities”. Luke 16:10
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops;
Then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. Proverbs 3:5-10