We read in Mark 10 how a man ran and knelt before Jesus asking, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”. An instructive conversation followed. Jesus said, “you know the commandments” and mentioned the main ones. “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth” (10:17-20). Jesus reacts, “looking at him, loved him and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me’”. What an invitation! But what a challenge. Sadly, the man is “disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (verse 22).

The disciples were amazed because he said, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” (verse 23). And yet we see great wealth in 1 Kings 10 regarding the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon to hear his wisdom. She was the wonders of his kingdom where there was so much gold that “silver was not counted as anything” (verse 21). The Queen said, “I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. Behold the half was not told me …” (verses 6,7).

Yet tomorrow’s chapter is very disappointing. After all this use of wealth Solomon’s relationship with his God falters and “his heart was not wholly true to the LORD” (11:4) and he starts to worship other gods. Like the young man who came to Jesus “his great possessions” undermined, and in the case of the young man, destroyed his opportunity to have the wonder of “treasure in heaven”. We cannot know what role, if any, Solomon will have in the kingdom.

The world today is described as ‘a global village’ and many of us have “great possessions” in a world-wide context: we should have in mind what Paul said to Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils” (1 Timothy 6:10). Money puts down mind-poisoning roots! In God’s eyes, this is the case when those who have more money than that required for essentials, and spend the surplus on abundant possessions, pleasure and leisure. Attitudes take root in our minds and lead us away from God – and our “treasure in heaven” ceases to exist and there is no reward for Jesus to bring with him for us (see Revelation 22:12) when he returns.