Matthew 19:23-24: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

According to Oxfam Finds 1% of the world population will have accumulated more than half of the world’s wealth in years to come. This deepening global inequality is increasing and unlike anything seen in recent years. Jesus once told a rich man that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God. That’s a strong statement! Jesus also said in His sermon on the mount that the poor inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:3):

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

Is God partial to the poor? Is He less willing to accept a rich person into His kingdom? I believe nothing could be further from the truth. It’s really self-sufficiency that separates us from the Kingdom of God, and we all deal with that sentiment, one way or another. The key to finding God is to recognize that we’re all incomplete without our Creator; and a rich person may have a harder time recognizing this crucial piece of wisdom.

Let’s revisit the conversation Jesus had with the rich young man. He was one of the wealthy people in Jesus’ time who was interested in pleasing God. Speaking with Jesus it became evident that He sought God’s seal of approval. Specifically he asked Jesus what he needed to do to secure His place in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus kept it general in His initial answer when He pointed out that we receive eternal life by keeping God’s commandments. Interestingly, the rich young man was dissatisfied with Jesus’ answer as he kept digging with a follow-up question. “What else must I do?” he asked. Jesus’ reply to his follow-up question saddened him and quickly ended the conversation (Matthew 19:21):

“Jesus told him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”

Matthew’s gospel records that the young man went away depressed knowing that he would not want to separate from his many possessions.

One does not have to be rich to share in a rich man’s worldview. Gifted, business-savvy, popular, strong and beautiful we may be, but – do we share what we’ve got? – is the question Jesus is asking here. If we just sit on our potential unwilling to let others benefit from it we are in the same boat with the rich young man. If we use money just to make more money, if we use our talents just to get more popular, if we live a self-serving life that excludes the less fortunate, our life’s direction will take us further and further away from God. Similar to the rich man who walked away from Jesus, we will be walking away from God depressed and sad. It’s no secret that riches and fame does not secure our happiness.

If every person on this planet had the sharing mindset Jesus is talking about the world wouldn’t suffer with rising global inequality. So don’t hold on too tight to what you’ve got. Dare to share! It makes a world of a difference to you and me.

“A man of riches may claim a crown of jewels; but the king of heaven can be told from the prince of fools.” (Song lyrics by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings)

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