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The More You Have, The Less You Care
The Least of These

The More You Have, The Less You Care

Posted by Regi Campbell on May 24, 2012

Spend time in developing countries and you’ll find extremely poor people giving up what little they have to help others in need. Jeff Foxworthy volunteers at an inner city ministry here in Atlanta. Last Christmas, he gave each of the ‘down-and-out’ men $50. Then he placed a bucket on the floor and offered the guys a chance to donate to help out some other people who were in even deeper need. By the time it was over, the bucket had more money in it than he’d given the men in the first place. They were taking dollar bills out of their shoes and putting them in the bucket to help others.

Conversely, as those who accumulate wealth get more and more, they give a smaller and smaller percentage to help others.

There’s a principle at work here. …

The more you have, the less you care.

Meet my need and I’ll be grateful. I might even share what I get with others in need. Give me more than I need, I’ll be less grateful and less sensitive to the needs of others. Give me an abundance and I’ll take it for granted. Before long, I’ll start talking about how the poor should learn to make it on their own.

I think it’s human nature, but it’s not what Jesus taught.

Jesus was compassion in the flesh. Over and over, He showed compassion. Roman soldiers, crucified criminals, sick people, dying people, poor people, the hungry, outcasts, hated and overt sinners…it didn’t matter. Everywhere He went, He pushed compassion. Compassion without limits.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the example of the rich young ruler. Here’s this man who has accumulated wealth, respect and even some religious status. Now He comes to Jesus and wants the ultimate….eternal life. (and maybe a little status in Jesus’ entourage). This guy has everything. He’s risen above the needs and circumstances of those around him. He’s got so much, he doesn’t care about anyone else. He wants that one last thing he doesn’t have. Get that and it’ll be perfection!

How does Jesus respond?

“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.” (Matt. 19:21)

Jesus reminded the guy there are two kinds of treasure; the kind on his net worth statement and the kind that matters long term; “treasure in heaven”. Notice Jesus didn’t tell him he had to give it all to the poor, He just said “give to the poor”.

The rich young ruler had gotten so much, he didn’t care about the needs of others. Jesus ‘held up a mirror’ and helped him see his lack of compassion. But then as always, Jesus offered him compassion. He said “Then come, follow me”, offering the guy the opportunity to be His disciple once he got his priorities straight. Jesus didn’t slam the door shut; He opened it wide.

 

Question: Is Jesus holding up the mirror for you and me? Have we gotten so much we’ve lost our compassion?  Please comment here.

Responses (5)

Joseph Lalonde
Joseph Lalonde Posted: May 24, 2012, 2:26 pm

Dang Regi! You’re pulling out the big guns on this post. And it’s convicting.

Sometimes I think I do get lost and caught up in all that I have been blessed with. I have a nice house, cars for my wife and I, food on the table every night, and so much more that it’s easy not to care.

And yet posts like this or a friend at church bringing his homeless friend to church comes along and smacks me upside the head.


Regi Campbell
Regi Campbell Posted: May 25, 2012, 5:37 pm

If you feel guilty, that’ not likely from God. Guilt will shut you down. If you’re convicted, that’s the Holy Spirit and He’ll fire you up and move you to action. Let us know which it was and what you did.


Tony Caruso
Tony Caruso Posted: May 24, 2012, 4:27 pm

I have always been haunted by this story.

Am I the rich young ruler?

Would I have given it all up to follow Jesus?

Will I, now give it all up to follow Jesus?

I contunually find myself holding back something. As the Lord reveals my holdbacks I pray that he would help me to realize that “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”

Thanks for your thought provoking and insightful posts


Regi Campbell
Regi Campbell Posted: May 25, 2012, 5:43 pm

I’m with you Tony. I reread all the gospel accounts of this story, trying to find a way out. I failed. I started thinking about selling my house, but then I remembered it’s in my wife’s name. But God’s moving. Something’s gonna’ happen. And soon.


Scott W. Spears
Scott W. Spears Posted: October 1, 2014, 10:49 am

Don’t be selling your house off yet to give everything to the poor, because there is such a thing as a rich christian.

1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

It is the desire to be rich that causes many believers to stumble and that desire can also be found in the poor christians too.

1 Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Both Matthew 19:20-22 & Mark 10:20-22 cite for the rich man in selling everything he has and give to the poor and thus would suggest actually giving all that he has to the poor if he was to leave everything in following Him. There is no contradiction in scripture, and so the content of the message is important for why the guantlet was given to the rich man.

The rich young man sought to be perfect, knowing he was lacking something and when seeking to be justified by the law, he had asked Jesus what it was that he still lacked in being perfect. That was Jesus way of showing the rich young man his need for God as the Saviour, because he was never going to be justified by the deeds of the law for he was a sinner. That was why Jesus said the harsh thing that He did about how hard it is for those having riches to enter into the kingdom of God from which His disciples had asked whom then can be saved and His answers was with men it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.

Jesus did the same thing to a certain lawyer.

Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

So the rich young man and the lawyer sought to be justified by the deeds of the law and thus ignoring their need for God as their Saviour.

So Jesus wasn’t really telling that all believers have to give everything up while living this life down here in order to follow Him, however, every believers as His disciples has to be ready to give everything up down here when the Bridegroom comes, and so that is why rich christians are to have their affections on the things above and treasure the things above rather than anything we have on earth and that saying goes for the poor as well if they wish to attend the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Luke 14:15-37.

Those that find it hard to leave this life, should trust Jesus Christ as their Good Shepherd to help them to do this as it is impossible for men to do.

Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.


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