This is a hard blog to write because I know that I am not in a place in my faith where I am as obedient as I should be on this particular topic. It is also a hard blog to write because it will hit home in a personal way with every person that is going to read this, or at least it should.
We in America live in the wealthiest country in the world. I know this is not a shocker to any of you, but it is a fact none-the-less. We have more money, more cars, more clothes, more food, and to put it simply, more stuff than anywhere else on this planet. And we like it that way. Why is this? Because it makes us feel secure. It makes us feel in control. It makes us feel that we have the means to not only take care of ourselves and our families but to provide higher quality of living and hopefully happiness. I want to say something that might make a few of you mad, but that is ok! It is not acceptable in God’s eyes to be living this way.
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell 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.'" (Matthew 19:23-24)
I have read this passage a countless number of times in my life but never really considered how it played into my own life. Jesus is teaching us here that it is next to impossible to get into heaven when you are rich. Why did he say this? The Bible also teaches us that God’s grace is available to anyone who wishes to seek it, that includes those who are rich. Jesus wasn’t teaching the disciples that God’s grace doesn’t extend to those who are wealthy or that they aren’t loved as much as those who are not. What he is teaching here is that when you are rich, it is so easy to get wrapped up in yourself because you have security and comfort in your life. Money does provide these things in a number of different ways, and it is so easy to adjust your mindset to the idea that you do not need God in your life because you already have everything that you need. Why would you need to worship God when you are already have the security and control in your life that you desire and even need? The fact of the matter is that when you have these things in your life it often hard to see a need for God. You can become so wrapped up in yourself and in your own pleasure that you are completely going against the purpose that God created you, and this can lead you down a dark and very dangerous road. This is the message that Jesus was teaching his disciples.
When do you feel more compassion for those who are suffering and in poverty: When you are living in comfort and security, or when you are experiencing what it feels like to live that way? Maybe another lesson that Jesus was trying to teach is that when we are rich we lose the compassion and the heart that Jesus himself had for those who are poor and weak. You have to see that it is not about being wealthy. It is about being righteous in the eyes of God. It is about striving to have a heart like Jesus and to live your life like he would live it if he were standing in your shoes.
"Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death."
Like I said this is a hard blog to write because I haven’t figure this out completely in my own walk with Christ. But I do realize this: I believe we live in the hardest place in the world to evangelize. It is a lot easier to share the hope of Christ to a country that is so desperate and hopeless than it is to a country full of people who do feel that they already have all of the hope and security that they need. We have become so corrupted and mesmerized by a sense of false wealth that it has almost completely blinded us from the true riches that God offers to those who follow and love Him.
The conclusion that I want to draw is that we need to rethink what it means to be wealthy, and what we should do with the wealth that we are blessed with. It is not a bad thing to have money. In fact, it can be a great thing for God’s kingdom if you learn to be generous like Jesus taught us to be. But if you do not learn how to do this in your life, Jesus’ teaching speaks for itself: It is almost impossible to get to heaven. But the great thing about my God is that through Him, nothing is impossible.
"Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all." (Proverbs 22:2)
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have." (Hebrews 13:5)