In the United States, we are blessed with great material and physical wealth. No nation before has ever enjoyed the vast luxuries that this country has and currently enjoys. The average middle class American is very rich compared to much of the rest of the world.
The question for the Christian is this. Do you control your possessions, or do your possessions control you?
There’s an interesting story found in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospel account of a rich young ruler, who asks Jesus… what good thing must I do that I may attain eternal life? After some conversation, Jesus says: “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
The rich young ruler loved his riches so much that they kept him from accepting eternal life from the Son of God.
We pick up the story at Matthew 19: 23-26… And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 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.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Jesus uses an illustration of the impossibility of a camel going through the eye of a needle. Some theologians have taught that the needle’s eye referred to a gate in the wall of Jerusalem through which by means of much effort, much pulling and pushing a camel could finally get through the needle gate.
However, the Greek of Matthew 19:24 and Mark 10:25 speaks of a needle that is used with thread, and Dr. Luke used in Luke 18:25 a medical term for a needle that is used in surgical operations.
It is quite evident from studying the language that the gate is not meant, but rather the tiny eye of a sewing needle.
It is therefore IMPOSSIBLE for anyone whose love for wealth keeps them from trusting Jesus the Christ as Savior, to be saved.
In answer to the disciples’ question, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus says, ” The things that are impossible with men, are possible with God.” The word “with” in the Greek means litterally “beside.”
If we take our stand in this world with the riches that it offers, we run “beside” or along with the world… and it is impossible to be saved.
However, if we take our stand “beside” God on the matter of provision and worldly needs… then the formerly impossilbe becomes possible through faith, trust and a life of discipleship through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
Who or what do you stand “beside?”