The aim of any young entrepreneur is to be counted among the richest, across the world. In Zimbabwe, Strive Masiyiwa is probably an inspiration to most young people. This cannot be the aim for those who have attained spiritual freedom. The idea of accumulating material possessions is attractive to the flesh, more than it carries any value with those having attained spiritual freedom.
There is no record of Jesus ever focusing on material acquisitions. If exciting and satisfying to own properties, why did Jesus, our example, not pursue wealth? There is no other gift, surpassing that of Jesus, whose impact is still felt by the generality of humanity. Others may use His name for nefarious activities, but others use His services to positively impact other people’s lives.
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “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.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:16-23 NIV).
The rich young man’s interaction with Jesus was opportunistic. The Jews had customarily desired and had been anxious to be in God’s Kingdom. Having, probably, become convinced of Jesus’ knowledge, he submitted his innocent question; “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (Matt 19:16).
The question sounds like coming from one, determined to be in God’s Kingdom. But the answer given by Jesus was disappointing. That is not what he expected. The Scripture shows that the idea of keeping the Commandments had not been a problem with him.
As desiring certainty that God’s Kingdom was obtainable, the young man sought assurance from Jesus. He wanted assurance of being on the right track, to avoid losing out. He had all along assumed that value was in receiving, more than it ought to be in giving.
Jesus told him, in no uncertain terms, that value was in giving. To experience God’s Kingdom, even in this world, one ought to experience comfort in giving, than in receiving. There is an unmistakable truth in that givers enjoy life more than those receiving things for free.
A dignified person cannot enjoy surviving out of handouts, without giving anything in return. But the most miserable life is experienced by those living on handouts, without giving anything in return. Sadly, in Zimbabwe, the state of poverty has reduced most people to experience comfort in receiving, more than in giving.
Even when receiving more than necessary, receivers cannot part with possessions. This is what makes it impossible to ever experience happiness, as needs are ordinarily insatiable. No one gets satisfied with possessions, as long as assuming that possessions are significant.
The idea of materialism is so stupid, so that most people find Jesus’ statement, to that young man, unreasonable. Joy is achievable when giving, rather than when receiving. This can be experienced by anyone, without consideration of whether being religious or not.