Speaking Of Life 3046 | The Midas Touch
In Greek mythology, Midas was a king who was obsessed with riches. After doing a good deed for the god Dionysus, King Midas was granted whatever he wished as a reward. The king asked for everything he touched to turn to gold, and his wish was granted. King Midas was overjoyed! He touched sticks, rocks, flowers. All of them turned to solid gold. He went to his palace and ordered a feast to celebrate his good fortune. That’s when he realized his mistake. Every time he tried to put something in his mouth, it would turn to gold. In the myth, King Midas died of starvation. His love of wealth cost him his life. In the book of Mark, we are introduced to another man with an unhealthy attachment to riches:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.'” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
In the verses that follow, Jesus does not say it is wrong to have riches. However, he does say that loving riches is wrong. Our possessions can become idols to us — things that get in the way of our relationship with God. This was the man’s problem. He was so entangled by his stuff that he missed an opportunity to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. He traded an eternal relationship with Christ for things that will fade away.
In this encounter, riches are a metaphor for anything we value above God. Some of us choose to work unnecessarily long hours just to earn confirmation through success. This is often at the cost of time with those most important to us: God, our family, and friends. Some of us are tied to our social media affirmations trying to get the most likes and views instead of getting our worth and value from God. All of these scenarios are forms of idolatry because they get in the way of our relationship with God and other people. Therefore, we should be willing to give up anything that gets between us and Jesus.
The good news is that whatever we give up for Jesus is never really lost. The sacrifices we make for him today are repaid with interest in eternity. Out of an abundance of love, God gives us true riches like joy, peace, and grace. These things are worth far more than gold and silver. We should be willing to set aside any wealth of this world for the eternal riches that are in Jesus Christ.
Jim Elliot wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” In Christ, we are already rich with blessings. Let us not let the things of this world distract us from all we have in Jesus.
I am Jeff Broadnax, Speaking of Life.