And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
Often when you read this blog, I’ll tell a story that attempts to illustrate a biblical principle. Other times, Jesus tells the story so well that it’s foolish for me to even try.
In this case, the story is set up by a rich young man who wants to know what it will take for him to achieve eternal life. The young man had the religion part down pretty well – he clearly knew his scriptures and the “legal” requirements of the Jewish law. But Jesus added a caveat that threw the young man for a loop – sell all of your possessions, give the money to the poor and follow me
That, of course, revealed the true love of the young man’s life – money. He wanted to be able to follow Jesus and keep all of his wealth. And honestly, Jesus wouldn’t have been against that – if the young man was merely willing to give everything up. But our Lord was able to discern the young man’s heart, and He knew that money would always take first place. And Jesus already had a disciple who had too great an affection for money.
Jesus doesn’t tell us that it’s impossible for rich people to be Christians. But He does say it’s incredibly difficult. Even then, wealthy people had a love for money that separated them from God. But there were also undoubtedly wealthy people who loved God and put Him first.
I know godly people today that you’d consider to be wealthy. One is the founder of a family of amusement parks. Another started a successful home building company. Another was a board member for a major petroleum company. But all of them have used their means to further the Gospel, and I fully believe that they would gladly give it all up if they had to in order to follow the Lord.
That isn’t the case for most rich people. Honestly, it isn’t even the case for most poor people. If you have anything that you’d not be willing to give up for Jesus, then you have a material obstacle in your life – an idol – that you love more than the Lord. In order to follow Jesus to the fullest, we have to be willing to put everything aside for Him.
Today, pray that the Lord will show you if you have anything in your life that you prize more than Him. Ask Him to help you set those things aside in your heart, and also ask Him to guide you in knowing where He would like you to use your means to further His kingdom.
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.