It occurred to me in reading this portion of Scripture today that life looks one way if you think that this world, this earthly life, is all there is. However, if one believes in God and eternity, what is really important looks completely different.
A case in point is Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler in Mark 10. If you think that this life is all there is, then amassing as much wealth as you can, and enjoying the things of this life to the fullest extent possible, seems most important. However, if you think that there is a kingdom of God, or heaven, then you might just be willing to give up your treasure here to have treasure there.
Here is C. S. Lewis’ comment on this story….
Christ said it was difficult for “the rich” to enter the Kingdom of heaven, referring, no doubt, to “riches” in the ordinary sense. But I think it really covers riches in every sense—good fortune, health, popularity, and all the things one wants to have. All these things tend—just as money tends—to make you feel independent of God, because if you have them you are happy already and contented in this life. You don’t want to turn away to anything more, and so you try to rest in a shadowy happiness as if it could last for ever. But God wants to give you a real and eternal happiness. Consequently He may have to take all these “riches” away from you: if He doesn’t, you will go on relying on them. It sounds cruel, doesn’t it? But I am beginning to find out that what people call the cruel doctrines are really the kindest ones in the long run. I used to think it was a “cruel” doctrine to say that troubles and sorrows were “punishments.” But I find in practice that when you are in trouble, the moment you regard it as a “punishment,” it becomes easier to bear. If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad. (“Answers to Questions on Christianity,” God in the Dock)