Only What You Do For Christ Will Last – A Meditation on the Poverty of this World’s Riches

gold-513062_1280In fourth chapter of Mark’s Gospel we find the following saying of the Lord:

To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away (Mk 4:25).

The rich get richer? To one who reads this text from a worldly perspective, it might seem that the Lord is saying, in some fatalistic sense, that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. But such an interpretation would be incorrect, because it fails to understand that the Lord Jesus is speaking of the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of this world. Indeed, the fuller context of Mark Chapter 4 is the memorable parable of the seed (of the Word) that falls either on the path, on rocky ground, among thorns, or on good soil. Those who have more are those who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold (Mk 4:20).

Thus, the one who has more is the one who has the Kingdom of God, who has faith, who (by faith) has the Lord and the justice of the Lord, and who stands to inherit all of Heaven. He or she is the one who has more.

Note too how the “more” keeps building. To have faith is to have the Lord. To have the Lord is to have saving grace and mercy. To have saving grace and mercy is to grow in holiness and experience greater and greater healing. And to experience this transformation and share in God’s holiness is to be made ready for Heaven.

Yes, those who have the Kingdom are the ones who are rich! They may not have the fancy house, the expensive car, the six-figure salary, the big ego, or the well-coiffed hair. But they are rich in the only way that really matters or lasts: they are rich in the Kingdom.

So who are those who have not? They are the ones who have rejected the Kingdom of God, the Word of God, the grace and mercy of God. They “have not” the Kingdom. And they do not have it not because it hasn’t been offered but because they have rejected it. These are the people who are truly poor, who “have not.”

But notice that the passage says that the “have not” still does have something, for the text says, even what he has will be taken away. Now this means that he has something, but it will not be his for long. For what he has is this world and its vain, passing riches. It is his now, but like sand slipping through his fingers, it will soon be gone. It cannot last no matter how large a fortune he amasses.

Consider carefully what the Lord says here: the world’s riches cannot last. Further, they are all but nothing compared to the riches of the Kingdom of Heaven. The ones who have the Kingdom are those who have and will get more. By comparison, the ones who have this world really have nothing at all, and the little they do have will be taken from them.

Think of a billionaire with numerous homes, corporate jets, luxury yachts, even private islands. He may have amassed a fortune on this planet and own more real estate than even some governments!

But really, what he has is ultimately so little! If you were to go out into space, in fact not all that far into space, you wouldn’t even be able to see Earth. Our billionaire may have amassed a fortune, but it is only a portion of a speck of dust, for Earth is but speck of dust compared to the immensity of everything God has made.

Do you get the point? We tend to get very impressed by what is really very little in the end. And our billionaire possesses this wealth for but a fleeting moment in cosmic time. When his little moment is up, even the little he has will be taken from him.

There is only one way to be truly rich and that is to receive the gift of God and His Kingdom. Only this will last. Only in coming to possess this do we really have something that amounts to anything. Only this will grow until we are truly rich. Only those who have the Kingdom are rich in any true sense of the word. All that others have amounts to very little, and what little they have, since it is of the world, will be taken from them.

This song says, “Only what you do for Christ will last.” Here are some excerpts:

You may build great cathedrals large or small, you can build skyscrapers grand and tall, but only what you do for Christ will last

You may seek earthly power and fame, the world might be impressed by your great name, soon the glories of this life will all be past, but only what you do for Christ will last. 

Remember only what you do for Christ will last.

Only what you do for Him will be counted at the end; only what you do for Christ will last.