Discerning Intent

In this time of increasing complexity, It can be very challenging to determine the intent of those who impact us, especially those who are in the political and financial arena.  I have lived long enough and have had substantial exposure to the rich and famous to become somewhat cynical of the intent of the rich and powerful.

In Matthew chapter 9, Jesus encounters a young wealthy person:

16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’

19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.  What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “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.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Did Jesus know the what was in the young man’s heart?  Yes, as the Son of GOD, He could discern what was in the hearts of men.  Did the young man really keep all the commandments based on their intent?  Once again, Jesus is assessing the fruit of the rich young ruler by exposing the intent of the heart.  Notice the last commandment mentioned- ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Here you have a young man of great wealth yet he was unwilling to give up his great wealth to show his unconditional Love for his neighbor.  Typically, the issue with the intent of most people boils down to money.  I found this out when FATHER had me take various trips to Europe with the intent of helping third world countries fund infrastructure projects.  I saw first hand the selfishness of people who would sacrifice the funding deals in order to get “their cut” out of the deal while people who were to receive help were in abject poverty.  How sad!

The rich young ruler did not have faith in Jesus nor the Divine Intent of FATHER.  His trust was in his own riches and great possessions.  How many of us would respond to Jesus and submit to His Word: “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”?  This Word will either instill fear or faith, depending where you are at as far as becoming a mature Son or Daughter.  FATHER has challenged my wife and I over the years in our giving.  In each case, HE took us out of our comfort zone in order to expose what was in our hearts.  I would suggest that as you become more mature, HE will expose your heart in a similar manner.

We are to walk by faith in GOD and come to understand HIS Divine Intent for our specific situation.  FATHER isn’t a harsh taskmaster who wants to place us in abject poverty in order to confirm our willingness to follow HIM.  HE wants to expose any impurity in our hearts so that we are able to grow and mature as Sons and Daughters.  HE wants us to trust HIM rather than the world’s riches.  HE wants us to walk in and exercise the commandment of Love toward others.  When we become a cheerful giver, we are being trained to be led by THE SPIRIT rather than being led by self interest which is often centered around money.  One of the most direct methods of discerning intent is done by watching the flow of money in a person’s life.  The rich young ruler’s response is an excellent example.

Comments are closed.