Do Riches Block the Entrance to the Kingdom of God?
In Matthew 19 Jesus talked to a rich, young ruler about entering the kingdom of God. You can read the link above to get the whole story. The takeaway line is here: 23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, 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.” There have been many who have written on this passage and I don’t have any new insight to offer. What I do believe factors into what Jesus says here is that when adults receive Jesus Christ as their Savior, it is more than simply getting a ticket to heaven. The call of God on their lives for salvation is also a call to give up this life as well. Giving up this life means giving control of everything we have to God. Obviously, this is more “difficult” if an adult has a lot to give up control of. It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God because the salvation covenant includes the willingness to give up everything, and that’s not “easy” when there is a lot of “everything” to give up. I don’t think Jesus is adding anything to salvation; rather He is filling out what salvation really is. Is it possible that one of the reasons that so many in our country who claim to be Christians but seem so involved in the world, and by definition are rich, are not really in the kingdom of God at all?
Jesus goes onto say that with God all things are possible. So, it’s not impossible for rich adults to enter the kingdom of God; but it is more “difficult”. This has important implications as we share the gospel with our family and friends here in America, all who fall into the “rich” demographic. Also, if you are already saved, I think this text serves as a warning to the danger of riches getting in the way of serving God and following Him completely.