“And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’” (Mark10:23)
There are many millionaires and billionaires around the world: celebrities, politicians, professional athletes, and business moguls. Most try to keep amassing more wealth and power to satisfy the emptiness they feel within, like the rich young man who came to Jesus. They may feel that they will have a comfortable and stress-free life if they have enough money and possessions and will have earned a spot in heaven.
Therefore, most of them would be appalled by the image Jesus uses here of the camel and the eye of a needle. Jesus stated that not only is it difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, it is impossible! He is not saying that wealth and possessions are the problem. Wealth is not evil if we use it as God’s faithful stewards. He gives wealth, money and possessions to be used for Him, to build his kingdom, not ours. But if we trust in them for security and comfort we are worshipping false idols, we are putting our faith in something that is not God. Indeed, it is impossible for any who do this to enter into the kingdom of heaven, rich or not. Material things corrupt and rot away. They can never buy eternal life. Riches and possessions are not the source of salvation or the means that achieve it.
Lest we think this applies only to the wealthy, what Jesus here says applies to each of us. If we trust in any thing other than God, we sin. If we hold onto those things which give us security when God wants us forsake them, to change our ways, to place our trust in him completely, we sin. Some of us may place our trust in wealth and riches, some in our own self, education, talents, jobs, family, experience, culture, heritage, or political affiliation. Some of us may place more faith in the Government to keep us safe than we do in the Lord God. But if we are indeed citizens of the heavenly kingdom, God will not allow this. He will work to change us. He will send change and adversity to discipline us and refine us into the image of His Son.
What are you holding onto? Is it money? Is it family? Is it tradition? Is it the status quo? Is it your nationality or culture? Is it some sin? God wants to rid us all of these things that are not of Him, that we value more than Him. We can resist his changes, and turn away. We might think we are okay, that we really aren’t that bad. We might be afraid of really looking at ourselves because we fear letting go of control and trusting in God completely. If so, the Lord comforts us with the words “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”