“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!’”
In the book Tuesdays With Morrie, a dying old man reflects on life with a young friend. At one point he says, “We’ve got a form of brainwashing going on in our country. Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over...Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good. We repeat it — and have it repeated to us — over and over until nobody bothers to even think otherwise...
“Wherever I went in my life, I met people wanting to gobble up something new. Gobble up a new car. Gobble up a new piece of property. Gobble up the latest toy. And then they wanted to tell you about it. ‘Guess what I got?’
“You know how I always interpreted that? These were people so hungry for love that they were accepting substitutes. They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works. You can’t substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of companionship...
“I can tell you, as I’m sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of them you have.”
Jesus would agree with Morrie. As He and His disciples reflect on Jesus’ discussion with the wealthy man, Jesus declares the difficulty of wealthy people entering the kingdom of God. Why does wealth keep people from the kingdom? It is so alluring. You fall in love with money and its benefits, and you fail to see your need of a Savior. After all, if you have everything you would ever want to possess, why would you see your need of God?
This may seem obvious to you as an abstract concept, but consider its effect in your life and culture. How does money lure you into believing that if you have more of it, all will be well? Might your desire for dollars drive out your pursuit of God? How might wealth distract you from entering the kingdom?
Happily, Jesus ends this part of the discussion with words of hope. While the rich entering the kingdom can be as impossible as a camel going through the eye of a needle, God can accomplish more than all we ask or imagine. He will turn the hearts of even the wealthiest people to Himself. By the work of the Holy Spirit, the wealthy person may see their poverty of spirit and look to Jesus for forgiveness and new life.
Salvation is a miracle of God’s grace. It is obvious with the wealthy, but true for everyone. Ask God to keep your heart fixed on the One who provides true and everlasting wealth.