Mark 10:23-24 “Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said 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 a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
This was today’s Word of Life for my soul. Place: the region of Judea, across the Jordan. Time: More than 2000 years ago.
Jesus commented these words after he had an encounter with a young rich man who asked him a simple question. He wanted to know what could he do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answered that he should know the commandments, that he should sell everything that he owned, give it to the poor and then that he had to follow Jesus. The young man went away sad, because he had great wealth.
I’m still wondering what do all those TV evangelists, christian musicians, bishops, pastors, and priests who are super rich, do when they read these verses or if they actually read these verses. Do they ever feel guilty? I guess not; I think that their spiritual eyes must be totally covered so they can justify the way they live. I would feel guilty; specially knowing that there are so many people in need.
For the disciples, Jesus’ reaction was a surprise. And it was all because the Jews at that time believed (and they still do) that prosperity is the meaning of God’s blessings upon that person. The old patriarchs like Abraham, Job, Isaac, Jacob were all rich; God promised in the Law of Moses that He would prosper his people if they obeyed his Word. So it’s understandable why the disciples would react that way.
You see, a poor person has to constantly seek God to acquire the things he or she needs. Which are those riches of Heaven that Jesus mentioned in verse 21 of Mark Chapter 10? In this earth those could be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These spiritual riches are called fruits of the spirit and they are mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. You might say that maybe a rich person could gain some of those spiritual riches too….but let’s analyze this for a moment.
A person who is rich could find love in his family and friends until the riches are lost. Or what happens when they fight for inheritances? Where is the love when there is treason between one relative and another just to have a ‘position’ in society or in the family’s corporation? Is there real love when a rich man has a lover on the side? They can surely afford it and they might enjoy those extra meals. But that love comes hand in hand with interest and selfishness. So that love is not deep enough and doesn’t include sacrifice.
What about peace? There may be peace until the relatives fight for their inheritances again, the corporation has crooks laundering money, the IRS is after you, taxes, politics, your friends are not really your friends all they want is to gain something from you, until your debts and bills have to be paid, or until the interests of your credit cards keep going up. The truth is that, the more you gain, the more you spend and you will have more rivals, more envious people who will seek for the least opportunity to stab your back and steal what you have. So, I don’t think a rich person has too much peace…
A rich person can definitely be kind and give to the poor, not everything, but something. Will a rich person be kind to the thugs that are stealing money from them? Will they be kind to the IRS employees that are auditing them? Will they be kind to the teenagers that vandalized with graffiti the walls of their expensive mansion? Will they be kind to the reporters who are just asking them why do they have private planes or multimillion mansions when all they do is just preach on TV and depend from the live savings of the parishioners? No, they can’t be kind all the time…
Can a rich person have patience? Not when they have to continually travel to work and they have tight schedules just to keep their riches. Rich people have a lot of responsibilities and that means that they have to work fast and efficient to keep the revenue coming. Patience is lost when a client is late for an appointment, when flights are delayed, when somebody stole your wallet or your baggage, when your expensive car was vandalized…patience can be lost so easily when you’re rich.
A rich person can definitely have faithfulness….in their riches of course. Why would they need to have faith in God if their riches give them everything they need? You need faith to believe that your prayers will be heard. Maybe riches can’t buy health but the rich person will use his money to pay the best doctor money can buy to treat him or her of their illnesses. Even if they eventually die from sickness, they would’ve assured to have had the best treatment medicine can give because they can afford it. A poor person can’t do that; the poor definitely has to pray first.
A rich person can be gentle unless they have to kill nature to use it’s natural resources. You know, their riches have to keep increasing so those trees they need for paper and houses….they just have to go. You see, nobody cares about the ecosystem, flora, fauna, or global warming….only those poor people who have to live in those cheap houses that get flooded every year. Gentleness is overrated anyway…
Can a rich person have self-control? Somehow I keep picturing in my mind, politicians fighting whenever they have their late night sessions and they need to pass laws for consideration…they start cursing and insulting each other. By the way….I think they started poor at the beginning of their careers in politics but they sure end up being filthy rich when they get out of office. I just hate it when they say that they are Christians….they make us look so bad. I actually lose my self-control and get frustrated.
So those are the riches of heaven that the rich have to have so they can enter the gates of Heaven.
Wow! And I’m still trying to picture a camel entering through the eye of a needle. Jesus definitely had a sense of humor… I so love him!
Poor rich people, poor TV evangelists with their multimillion mansions, private jets, gigantic indoor pools, expensive cars, multimillion temples, revenues from books, CD’s, TV stations, theme parks…none of those material things will save them.
Poor rich people….they’ve been all compared to stinking camels trying to enter the eye of a needle… by none other than Jesus himself!!
Sell everything you own, give to the poor and follow Jesus. Start to depend on God, start making riches in Heaven and then it will be easier to have eternal life.
Transform your life from a dirty camel to a real disciple of Christ!