For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
He does not possess wealth that allows it to possess him. Author: Benjamin Franklin
Are we blessed by God as the poor in spirit or do we pray to be blessed with wealth of this world of shifting sand?
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Matthew understood this more than anybody. He had a choice to make. To follow this man who he felt God was with or to hold on to life as a publican. Publican was a tax collector. Despised by other Jews because they collected taxes for the Romans. In exchange, they were rewarded handsomely by the Romans with social status as a class of equities. Equestrians were of upper social class in Roman society. Ranked among business men and Roman cavalry men, thus the modern reference to equerian and horses. Horses symbolizing power over other men. It was very profitable financially to the publican. He received interest off taxes collected and turned it in at the end of the collection period. The real money came with anything collected over the amount of taxes. This was pure profit to him. You can imagine the corruption that ensued in their dealings. Yet, Matthew faced a choice like we all do in life. As Jesus walked by, he made that choice. Giving up his old life of lavishness and ease that he had made at other's expense in order to go and follow this man. A man unlike any who had ever walked the earth before. In losing what he thought to himself was his whole world, he regained his soul back in return. In this moment, he received wealth beyond measure from God.
In the story of King Midas, he had a decison to make, too. He, at first, wanted to be even more wealthier than he was. So he wished for the power of gold. Everything touched, the Midas touch, turned to gold. So excited was he that he went about touching everything. Gold was everywhere. The time came to eat. And he had grown hungry. So he called his servants in to bring him his dinner. Being tired, he sit down to eat only to discover that the food he touched was transformed to gold. Now he could not even eat. All this gold and no way to feed himself. He started to panic and went to his daughter. She, the love of his life and most beautiful, came to him. In trying to console her father, he touched her. In an instant she was changed to gold as all the other things. Oh, how he weeped and howled for his loss. His pursuit of getting everything had cost him everything he really held dear. He thought back to the beautiful flower she had shown him. Telling him before had wonderful it smelled. And how with his touch had transformed it into pure gold. She had called it ugly. Saying you can't touch it and smell it like a real one. Only now staring at his loving, innocent daughter now a golden stature did he see how much it cost him. In the end, he was given the power to rid himself of the golden touch. Realizing it was a curse and not a blessing. Washing his hands in the river, it disappeared. And, thus, gathering water in a vase took it to his child. Pouring it on her restored her to life.
Every choice is a blessing or curse. Even as I read stories about those who find fortune instaneously or build wealth off the expense of others, how it corrupts their souls. Losing all they hold dear, even their very souls. May I never forget that anything I have accumulated is because of you, Jesus. And to always use it to help someone in need. May the Holy Spirit bless me with a generous heart. May He bless us all. So the Holy Spirit continues to try to guide an often stubborn soul on his search of God's truth. Leading me where I need go, not always where I want to go.
Read more articles by Lance Gargus or search for articles on the same topic or others.