Summary: This sermon for seekers shows the utter vanity of materialism and points them to the meaning and purpose found in Christ
The Myth of “More”
All he ever wanted in life – was more.
• He wanted more money, so he parlayed inherited wealth into a billion-dollar empire – making him the richest man in the world.
• He wanted more fame, so he broke into the Hollywood scene and became a filmmaker and star.
• He wanted more pleasure, so he spent great sums of cash to indulge his every sexual desire.
• He wanted more thrills, so he designed, built, and piloted the world’s fastest airplane.
• He wanted more power, so he secretly dealt political favors so skillfully that two Presidents became his pawns.
ALL he ever wanted was MORE – ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that MORE would make him happy.
But history proves otherwise. At the end of his life, he lay emaciated; ashen; sunken chest, 8 inch long fingernails; rotten black teeth; his body covered in tumors and countless needle marks from his drug addiction.
Howard Hughes died believing the Myth of More – a billionaire junkie, insane by all reasonable standards.
Or consider Muhammad Ali, for many years self-titled “the GREATEST;” arguably one of the most famous athletes of all time. He was on top of the world – with an entourage of trainers and personal assistants riding the party-train WITH him.
But the party soon ended, leaving Ali broke financially AND physically. He now says of himself in halting speech and jerky movements – “I had the world – and it wasn’t - nothin’.”
Millions believe the ‘myth of more.’ The idea that happiness could be found “IF” they only had that promotion, that house, that amount of money in the bank, that relationship... they’d be happy.
But it’s a myth! For Jesus said, “Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” (Luke 12:15 - the Message)
And YET, how many people reject His wisdom, believing that meaning and purpose can be found in STUFF? Their discontentment drives them to chase dreams that will never satisfy.
Like we see in our story this morning.
A young, wealthy business man came to Jesus with an urgent question –
“What must I DO to inherit eternal life?”
Isn’t it interesting that a man who seemingly had the world by its tail, a man of great wealth falls on his face before Jesus, a man of poverty, and asks HIM for direction in life?
That’s why this story perfectly illustrates “the myth - of more.”
Perhaps some of you have fallen for this myth – you have dreamed and sacrificed – set professional goals and remained undaunted by obstacles… all in pursuit of MORE – busily climbing the ladder of success – only to find it leaning on the wrong building.
This text shows us WHY. Notice:
1. First that Materialism, and all that it promises, is disappointing. You can almost sense the desperation in his words, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
To understand the significance of this event, it is important for us to answer three questions:
First, Who IS this man? We have no name to help us with the question – only adjectives. Luke describes him as, “the rich young RULER.” So, he was a man of RANK. Possibly a leader in the synagogue or a member of the Sanhedrin – the Jewish High Court.
But the word “Ruler” can also mean “a prince,” as in royalty.
WHOEVER he was - we can know he was a man of great importance and wealth. But he still had a gnawing concern that wouldn’t go away, NO MATTER how much wealth he had accumulated.
It’s true of everyone, really - for inside the human heart there are gnawing questions that haunt us in our quiet moments - questions that cannot be answered by ANYTHING other than God.
The second question is, “What motivated him to come to Jesus?” The answer to that is found in the word “good.” He called Jesus “Good Teacher.” He saw something in the Lord that he hadn’t seen in other teachers. There was something DIFFERENT about Jesus– He was, by his very nature, inherently, intrinsically “good!” He wasn’t your ordinary religious teacher. Maybe he had witnessed one of our Lord’s miracles; maybe he was particularly moved by Jesus' loving displays to the outcasts of society – whatever the case, he knew Jesus was ‘no ordinary man.’
And THIRD, we must answer, “WHAT did he WANT?” “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?” Eternal life – THAT’S what he wanted. The problem WAS, he thought heaven could be bought like everything else – his riches had opened many doors for him – so naturally, he thought heaven would be the same - that he might make a donation, or do some noble thing to “buy” God’s favor. But no amount of money could open THIS door.