The Rich Man
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
The good news first…nothing is impossible with God. The bad news?…This passage is a challenge to virtually everyone who reads this post. The fact that we have a computer, a smart phone, a tablet, or all of the above…while sitting in a ACed house after eating a healthy meal…we’re rich. This site – Global Rich List – will peg you where you are both in the percentages as well as even what number you are. Its humbling, not exciting, to read where I fall on this list. And yet, I think that I’ve got the line on entering the kingdom of God. Yet, here is Jesus saying how hard it is for those with wealth to enter the Kingdom of God. Yes, there is the good news that nothing is impossible with God. But that’s not the side I need to focus upon. I need instead to focus on what it takes to get through the eye of the needle and see those who I must serve because I am lucky/blessed/random chance/etc to have what I have. I did not intend, when taking this picture, the words on the coin to end up as they did. Where one would normally read “In God we trust” on the penny, the focus blurred out the first two words – as a result it gives the sense that the thing we trust in is money, not God. There’s truth in this. When we hear preachers today talking about the reason that we are to follow God is for ourselves and to make our selves happy (click here), we are not trusting in God, but we are trusting in our selves, our possessions, our wealth. A friend of mine posted a quote on facebook today from an ancient saint of the church who was nicknamed “Golden Tongued” because of his gift for teaching…he said,
“The rich exist for the sake of the poor. The poor exist for the salvation of the rich.”
Convicting words. Eye of the needle types of words.
Yes, I give thanks for the fact that nothing is impossible for God and even me, a 1%er has the opportunity to enter the Kingdom of God. But, in the time before I enter, Lord please help me to live with generosity beyond what I think I am capable of.