An Austrian millionaire decided to get rid of his millions. Karl Rabeder owned a $2.2 million lakeside villa in the Alps, a farmhouse on 42 acres in France, 6 gliders, and an Audi A8. But he said “the biggest shock” of his life was realizing how empty “the five-star lifestyle” was. “For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness.” “I come from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this rule for many years.” But after a while, he felt he was working “as a slave for things I did not wish for or need,” adding, “I have the feeling that there are a lot of people out there doing the same thing.” And so…. he decided to give it all away!
He sold his business, got rid of the gliders and fancy car, and decided to raffle off the house in the Alps and put the farmhouse in France on the market. He began to support orphanages in South America and created a charity that helps self-employed people in six Central and South American countries get their businesses going. He himself moved to a small two-room apartment in Innsbruck. *
There was another rich man who came to Jesus with a very important question: “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (see Matthew 19:16-22). Jesus responded: “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then He referred the rich man to some of the commandments of the Old Law, which was in effect at the time. The rich man stated, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” The Scripture records: “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
Two wealthy men: One gave his riches away; the other couldn’t part with them. What was the difference? The one who “gave it all away” recognized that earthly riches don’t satisfy our deepest needs. That for which many seek to find fulfillment in their lives, he found to bring emptiness instead. He found happiness in helping others.
The one who couldn’t part with his riches forfeited the real Treasure: eternal life. The love of money – “temporary treasures” – superseded his love for Christ. See 1 Timothy 6:10.
Must we give up everything to follow Jesus so that we may have eternal life? Only that which is sinful and that which hinders us from following Him. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins so that when we trust and obey Him, we may have the forgiveness of sins and the GIFT of eternal life (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 6:23).
In order to accept His offer of salvation and eternal life, we must: place our faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins and idolatry in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Then we must follow Him faithfully, continually seeking to do His will (1 John 1:7).
“What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) Even a millionaire is poor and miserable if he doesn’t recognize the True Treasure.
Won’t you trust and obey Jesus today so that you may inherit the greatest Treasure of all?
— David A. Sargent, Minister; Church of Christ at Creekwood