The disciples of Jesus had remarkable experiences, more than any other group of human beings. The stilling of the storm astonished them, but there is another example in Mark 10 where “his disciples were amazed at his words”.

Jesus had just said, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God” (verses 23,24). His comment was the sequel to a situation when an earnest man ran up to him and said, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (verse 17). Jesus says, “You know the commandments” and spells out most of them. “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth” (verse 20). “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him.”

But the love of Jesus did not blot out a fatal flaw in this man’s character; Jesus said, “You lack one thing”. The Master who sees and knows all things told him to use his “great possessions” in helping the poor. “Sell all that you have” he was told, and the man’s thinking had collapsed over that request.

The climax was a wonderful invitation, “come follow me… you will have treasure in heaven …” (verse 21) But his mind could not jump the hurdle of his trust in wealth and “he went away sorrowful”. This event caused Jesus to comment about wealth and the great difficulties they cause for people who possess them. This amazed his disciples.

This brings us to 1 Kings 10 and Solomon’s great wealth, that he “excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom” (verse 23). In the end his riches distracted him “so Solomon did not wholly follow the LORD” (11:6) and the lack of wisdom of his son Rehoboam led to a great loss of them (chapter 12). Solomon became obsessed by possessions (see what he confesses in Ecclesiastes 1 & 2).

And us? Our world is full of things to distract. Many of us are wealthy compared to previous generations. Jesus says, “Come, follow me”. If we say, “Yes Lord” – let us do so, making sure there are no earthly possessions that are distracting us. Those who follow Jesus “receive a hundredfold now in this time … and in the age to come, eternal life” (verse 30).

This was the Apostle Paul’s experience. He expresses his position very succinctly, “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:10).