Matthew 10: Ambition Is Not The Answer
37“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.40“Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. 41If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God,m you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. 42And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”
This is a double entendre here and Jesus is pushing his audience hard to get them to understand it. Jesus is saying, listen, folks, if you want to live like kings on earth than you won’t make it to heaven. This is repeated in a story Jesus tells to his disciples about a rich man that dies and a poor man who worked for him who also dies. The story is a harsh reality of choosing money over God.
Luke 16: Money Is Not The Answer
19Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. 22“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham.e The rich man also died and was buried, 23and his soul went to the place of the dead.f There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.24“The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’25“But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’27“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. 28For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’ 29“But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’ 30“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ 31“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Another scripture that drives this point home is Matthew 6:24
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Now God blesses many Christians with money, Abraham, Moses, David, Joseph and many other bible notables were extremely wealthy, billionaires by the standards of the day and they appeared to all make it to heaven the major difference is that they sought to please God and in the process, GOD gave them money. They didn’t seek to get money at the cost of tithing, honesty, morality, love, patience, respect and humility. They didn’t seek to gain money at the cost of their soul, Mark 8:36. Now we see that we should not seek money or pleasure in this life OVER pleasing God, however, we shouldn’t deny ourselves of pleasure either. The point here is that we just shouldn’t prioritize happiness over godliness. (echo echo) We should not prioritize happiness over godliness. Happiness on earth will lead us to an eternity of hell if that happiness doesn’t align with God. The second part of that statement is that seeking happiness primarily will only lead to more disappointment and emptiness and sadness. Ecclesiastes says when a person grasps what they are looking for they will find that it is empty and that chasing happiness is like chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 1:14, 2:11. The point the author of Ecclesiastes is trying to make is simple, if life is about me then I will be miserable e.g. if my marriage is about my needs than I alienate my partner and will always be in need regardless of how much my partner tries to please me and if work is about me than I alienate my co-workers and myself and no one will want to be in close proximity to me in fear of hurting my feelings or arguing without compromise, if religion is about me I will consistently miss the glory of God because I simply won’t be looking for it. I’ll be looking at God and reading His Bible for ways that it blesses me, how can I be more blessed, more forgiven, more wise, more wealthy and more whole. Seeking God will be like seeking for a Job, you do it because you want the 401k plan, health insurance, stability, and money, but not because you actually want to work for the employer. You’ll seek God the same way a kid seeks Santa Clause, with a “what’s in it for me” mentality and like the kids seeking Santa Clause, you’ll most likely be asleep when he actually comes.
So HOW do we find happiness? We find happiness by seeking God, Matthew 6:33. God says if you want money, clothes, stability, security, happiness than seeking me and I will give them to you. Seek to love and obey me, John 14:15, to love my people, Luke 10:25-33, and to repent and be humble, 2 Chronicles 7-14. You need not worry about life, marriage or anything else if you seek God FIRST. In a nutshell, the greatest commandment and guide to life itself and the purpose of life itself even would be to simply love God with all your heart, mind and soul, Matthew 22:36-40