NEW TESTAMENT - LESSON 17
Mark 10:17-30; 12:41-44; Luke 12:13-21; 14; 16
- Trusting in riches can keep a person out of the kingdom of God.
- Seek heavenly, rather than earthly, treasures.
- Followers of christ must be willing to forsake all to be true disciples.
- Seek spiritual wealth with enthusiasm and energy.
A study of this lesson should help us better understand that we must
be willing to sacrifice the things of this world to obtain a place in the
kindom of heaven.
Trusting In Riches Can Keep A Person Out Of The Kingdom
- READ MARK 10:17-21. A rich young man seeks Jesus
to find the path to eternal life.
V22: "And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved:
for he had great possessions."
- When the young man asked how he might obtain eternal life, Jesus began
reciting the commandments.
- The young man's response: "Master, all these have I observed
from my youth" (v20).
- WHAT DID THE MASTER THEN TELL THE YOUNG MAN?
- "One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast,
and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come,
take up the cross, and follow me" (v21).
READ MARK 10:23-25. Hard to trust in riches and
enter the kingdom of God.
- WHY DO YOU THINK THE LORD ASKED HIM TO GIVE UP ALL HIS POSSESSIONS?
- Joseph Smith: "A religion that does not require the sacrifice
of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary
unto life and salvation." (Lectures on Faith, p58)
- Joseph F. Smith: "The difficulty with the young man [was that]
he had great possessions, and he preferred to rely upon his wealth rather
than forsake all and follow Christ.... No man can obtain the gift of eternal
life unless he is willing to sacrifice all earthly things in order to obtain
it." (Gospel Doctrine, p261)
- This was a good young man. He sought to keep the commandments all his
life, but he had grown comfortable with his riches and was not willing
to part with them. When Joseph and Sidney saw their vision of the three
degrees of glory, many of those who would receive a terrestrial reward
were described this way, "These are they who are honorable men
of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.... These
are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they
obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God" (D&C 76:79).
The young man was a good person, but was not willing to take the extra
step that would bring him eternal glory.
- HOW DOES THE SAVIOR'S INSTRUCTION TO THE RICH YOUNG MAN APPLY TO US?
- President Lee spoke of a bishop who described some of the people in
"In response to the Master, "Come
... follow me" (Mark 10:21), some members almost, but not quite, say,
'thou persuadest me almost to be honest but I need extra help to pass a
"Almost thou persuadest me to
keep the Sabbath day holy, but it's fun to play ball on Sunday.
"Almost thou persuadest me to
love my neighbor, but he is a rascal; to be tolerant of others' views,
but they are dead wrong; to be kind to sister, but she hit me first; to
go home teaching, but it's too cold and damp outside tonight; to pay tithes
and offerings, but we do need a new color TV set; to find the owner of
a lost watch, but no one returned the watch I lost; to pass the sacrament,
but I've graduated from the deacons now; almost thou persuadest me to be
reverent, but I had to tell my pal about my date last night; almost thou
persuadest me to attend stake leadership meeting, but I know more than
the leader on that subject, so why should I go? Thou persuadest me almost
to go to sacrament meeting, but there is going to be such an uninteresting
speaker tonight. Almost! Almost! Almost! but not quite, not able quite
to reach." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p291)
- In the case of the rich young man, he was unwilling to part with his
riches. As we review the bishop's list of "almosts" above, what
are we unwilling to part with? Is it riches? Is it our time? What about
some of our habits? This is precisely the sacrifice that we need to make.
READ MARK 12:41-44. The widow's mite.
- WHAT IS THE LORD CONDEMNING? IS HE CONDEMNING RICHES?
- V23: "how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter
into the kingdom of God!"
- Dallin H. Oaks: "In descending order of intensity, materialism
may be an obsession, a preoccupation, or merely a strong interest. Whatever
its degree, an interest becomes materialism when it is intense enough to
override priorities that should be paramount.
"From the emphasis given to this
subject in the scriptures, it appears that materialism has been one of
the greatest challenges to the children of God in all ages of time. Greed,
the ugly face of materialism in action, has been one of Satan's most effective
weapons in corrupting men and turning their hearts from God."
(Pure in Heart, pp73-74)
- Joseph F. Smith: "The rich man may enter into the kingdom of
heaven as freely as the poor, if he will bring his heart and affections
into subjection to the law of God and to the principle of truth; if he
will place his affections upon God, his heart upon the truth, and his soul
upon the accomplishment of God's purposes, and not fix his affections and
his hopes upon the things of the world." (Gospel Doctrine, p260)
- The Lord is not condemning riches. He is condemning the negative attitudes
of men toward riches: greed, materialism, trusting in riches. The Lord
would hardly condemn the means for building temples, sending missionaries
into the field, or the results of an honest day's labor. Satan uses riches
to temp men into losing their focus on eternal perspective.
- HOW CAN WE MAINTAIN A PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD EARTHLY POSSESSIONS?
- Consider these warnings:
- John Wesley (founder of Methodism): "I fear, wherever riches
have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion.
Therefore I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for
any revival of true religion to continue long. For religion must necessarily
produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches.
But as riches increase so will pride, anger, and love of the world in all
its branches." (Quoted by Dallin H. Oaks, Pure In Heart, p80)
- Brigham Young: "The worst fear that I have about this people
is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people,
wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people
will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and
be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth;
and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest
people on this earth." (Quoted by Dallin H Oaks, Pure In Heart,
- D&C 82:19: "Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor,
and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God."
- D&C 78:5-7: "That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly
things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things.
For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining
- We need to be willing to impart with and utilize our earthly possessions
for the benefit of others and in building the kingdom of God.
- Mosiah 4:21: "And now, if God, who has created you, on whom
you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth
grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that
ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that
ye have one to another."
- WHAT WAS THE WIDOW WILLING TO DO THAT THE RICH YOUNG MAN WAS NOT?
- She was willing to follow the Lord's admonition to the young rich man
to "go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor."
Her heart was in the right place and the abundance of heaven was hers.
- HOW CAN WE DEVELOP AN ATTITUDE LIKE THE POOR WIDOW'S?
- If our attitude is closer to that of the rich young man rather than
that of the widow, I believe that we are not fully converted. Recall that
after King Benjamin had addressed his people, that there was a great change
within in them. This was not a temporary change effected by Benjamin's
great speech, but a permanent change "because of the Spirit of
the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our
hearts" (Mosiah 5:2)..
Only through true conversion are we willing
to continue to live our lives in accordance with Celestial laws. As Alma
was traveling to the land of Manti, he crossed paths with the sons of Mosiah.
Alma rejoiced because they were still his brethren in the Lord "because
they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men
of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently,
that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given
themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of
prophecy, and the spirit of revelation" (Alma 17:2-3). If we want
to change our attitudes, we need to immerse ourselves in the work and the
word, fast and pray, as did the sons of Mosiah.
Seek Heavenly, Rather Than Earthly Treasures
- Luke 12:13-15: "And one of the company said unto him, Master,
speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
"And he said unto him, Man, who
made me a judge or a divider over you?
"And he said unto them, Take
heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the
abundance of the things which he possesseth."
READ LUKE 12:16-21. Parable of a certain rich man.
- In this episode a man was hoping to use the Lord's influence to persuade
his brother to part with a portion of his inheritance which in tradition
belonged to the brother.
- WHAT DID JESUS TELL THE MAN WHO WAS CONCERNED ABOUT IS INHERITANCE?
- "Take heed, and beware of covetousness" (v14).
- WHAT IS COVETOUSNESS?
- A strong desire for wealth or for another person's possessions.
- WHY IS IT DANGEROUS TO COVET?
- As discussed earlier, this great desire for wealth can warp our priorities.
Our efforts may become focused on material objects rather than the things
- It may cause us to charge or borrow to obtain these earthly desires.
President Hinckley has recently emphasized the importance of getting out
of debt and setting our temporal houses in order. If we now continue to
borrow to obtain a boat, a big screen TV, an vacation cabin, etc., we are
now disobeying the counsel of our prophet.
- If we continue to covet it could lead us to other sins such as theft
or other illegal activities in order to obtain that which we so desire.
- The Master further counseled, "a man's life consisteth not
in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (v15).
- In a modern world that puts so much emphasis on material wealth, it
is hard to keep the Master's statement of truth in proper perspective.
We seem to judge our success in life by how much money we earn and accumulate,
by the size and beauty of our homes, by the value and luxury of our cars
and by the vacations we take. We see boat shows, home shows, RV shows,
and travel shows. We turn on the TV and see shiny new cars, hot tubs, exotic
vacations, the lives of the rich and famous, and a dozen schemes for getting
rich and living the good life. We are influenced by this flood of materialism
all around us. But the Master teaches us that this is not where we find
- Spencer W. Kimball: "This nation thought it had found the abundant
life in 1929 when luxury came alike to the lowly and the well-to-do, greater
luxury than that enjoyed by early kings and emperors. We were driving our
unpaid-for autos over heavily bonded highways, en route to the bank to
make the monthly installment payments on the radio, the refrigerator, the
vacuum cleaner, on Father's new golf clubs and on Mother's new gown. Luxury-mad,
we were borrowing from and bonding the generations yet unborn that we might
have an abundance of the things which gave comfort, pleasure, and ease.
Did this increase our joy? Not at all. This was a poor substitute for the
abundant life. Crime increased, divorces were more usual homes were broken
up. Finally, the end came to this orgy of spending. The Depression followed,
and with it came temporary heartaches, disappointment, and despair, but
after the smoke had cleared away, we found attendance at church services
increased, friendships assumed new value, fellowship of interests was the
rule, and men began to appreciate each other and again live a fuller life.
For again rang down through the centuries the words of Divinity: 'For a
man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment but seek
ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all other things
will be added unto you'." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p353)
- Are things so different today than they were in 1929???
- The rich man obtained his wealth honestly, "the ground of a certain
rich man brought forth plentifully".
- It is important to note that the Lord was not condemning the means
of obtaining the riches or the riches themselves.
- WHAT IS THE LORD CONDEMNING?
- The man's attitude towards his riches and what he was doing with them.
- WHY DO MANY PEOPLE SET THEIR HEARTS ON WORLDLY WEALTH EVEN THOUGH THEY
KNOW IT IS ONLY TEMPORARY?
- The man in the parable said to himself, "Soul, thou hast much
goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry"
(v19). This is an attitude that is pervasive in our society today. With
the advent of lotteries and get-rich-quick schemes, many dream of doing
just as the man in the parable. They want to give up the world of work
and go spend their time relaxing, going on vacations, recreating, etc.
For most this is an illusion. Why can't we
realize what the Lord said is true? Our abundance in life is dependant
not on our material possessions, but on our spiritual possessions. Why
should we spend our life in pursuit of a mirage? And if for some reason
we achieve our material goals, will we be like the rich young man?
- HOW CAN WE DETERMINE WHETHER WE ARE TO CONCERNED WITH MATERIAL POSSESSIONS?
- Again, what we are concerned with is our spiritual attitudes, not the
wealth or possessions. Many of a talent for making money and have blessed
the Church and those around us with that ability. A prayerful study of
the teachings of Jesus, as found in this lesson, will help us better determine
our attitude. If we are living by the spirit, we will know where we need
- HOW CAN WE BE MORE GENEROUS WITH OUR MATERIAL WEALTH AND OTHER BLESSINGS,
SUCH AS TIME AND TALENTS?
- These are questions we need to ponder and pray about. We need to discuss
them in our families. We need to review our priorities.
Followers Of Christ Must Be Willing To Forsake All
To Be True Disciples
- READ LUKE 14:16-24. Parable of the great supper.
READ LUKE 14:25-33. We must forsake all to be
- Elder Talmage taught that the invited guest represented the covenant
people, or the house of Israel (Jesus the Christ, p452).
- WHY DIDN'T THE INVITED GUESTS (ISRAELITES) COME TO THE FEAST?
- They were caught up in their worldy pursuits and didn't have time to
come to the great supper.
- WHO ARE THE "POOR, AND THE MAIMED, AND THE HALT, AND THE BLIND"?
- The humble seekers of truth, as are so many of the member of the Church.
- HOW DOES THE PARABLE OF THE GREAT SUPPER APPLY TO US? WHAT EXCUSES
DO WE MAKE FOR NOT FEASTING AT THE LORD'S TABLE--FOR EXAMPLE, NOT READING
THE SCRIPTURES OR GOING TO THE TEMPLE?
- WHAT ARE SOME THINGS WE ARE ASKED TO SACRIFICE?
- HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED FOR MAKING THESE SACRIFICES?
- Joseph Smith: "For a man to lay down his all, his character
and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses,
his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his
own life also—counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency
of the knowledge of Jesus Christ—requires more than mere belief or supposition
that he is doing the will of God; but actual knowledge, realizing that,
when these sufferings are ended he will enter into eternal rest, and be
a partaker of the glory of God…." (Lectures on Faith, p58)
- Bruce R. McConkie: "In the eternal perspective there is no
such thing as sacrifice for the gospel cause. Men may forsake what seemingly
is of great worldly worth here, but they will be rewarded with eternal
riches hereafter. They forsake friends, families, and possessions for the
gospel's sake, but they gain these same things again in far greater measure
in the mansions on high." (DNTC, 1:557)
Seek Spiritual Wealth With Enthusiasm & Energy
- READ LUKE 16:1-13. Parable of the unjust steward.
- WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS PARABLE?
- WHAT WAS THE LORD TEACHING?
- James E. Talmage: "Our Lord's purpose was to show the contrast
between the care, thoughtfulness, and devotion of men engaged in the money-making
affairs of earth, and the half-hearted ways of many who are professedly
striving after spiritual riches. Worldly-minded men do not neglect provision
for their future years, and often are sinfully eager to amass plenty; while
the 'children of light,' or those who believe spiritual wealth to be above
all earthly possessions, are less energetic, prudent, or wise....
"Emulate the unjust steward and
the lovers of mammon, not in their dishonesty, cupidity, and miserly hoarding
of the wealth that is at best but transitory, but in their zeal, forethought,
and provision for the future. Moreover, let not wealth become your master;
keep it to its place as a servant." (Jesus the Christ, pp463-464)
- We need to compare the amount of time, thought, and energy we devote
to accumulating money and possessions with the amount of time, thought,
and energy they devote to seeking spiritual treasures.
- "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate
the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise
the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13)
- WHO DO WE SERVE?
We live in a world and a time possessed with the pursuit of wordly possessions
and wealth. Increasingly, we see many around us obsessed with accumlating
the things of this world, becoming wealthier and wealthier, pursuing recreation
and ease. Such is not in the eternal scheme of things. If we truly wish
the riches of eternity, our priorities need to be different from those
in the world. We must be willing to put away the things of the world and
serve the Lord with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. We should
be grateful for our earthly blessings, but we need to view them in their
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Changes last made on: Sat Apr 17 1999