Jesus once said something like this:
“How difficult it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God” and “it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God”.
You know this is another teaching that, if I’m honest, I’ve usually ignored. Because I consider myself in the Kingdom of God already. I’ve already accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and surely therefore I’m already a Christian. It doesn’t really matter whether or not I’m rich, I’m already in. And when I die I’m going to heaven.
However this morning as I was headed towards the gym, and these words of Jesus popped into my mind – I felt the Holy Spirit challenging my attitude towards them.
The truth of the situation is that I am rich, I reckon I’m in the top 10% of richest people in the world, (probably much higher and I’m being generous to myself). I rent an apartment with my wife, if there’s not enough food in the apartment its because we haven’t been bothered to do a food shop and not because we can’t afford it. We have a luxury coffee machine, a tv screen, and our own laptops. There’s not much point in listing off our material wealth, I reckon its similar to most people in the UK.
Anyway, this morning I realized (even if only a fraction) of what Jesus meant when he said those words. I have so much which God could potentially ask me to give away, that the thought of it scares me. If I say to God “whatever you want, whenever you want it, whatever the cost” (As my old mentor used to tell me), the potential cost of that is so much. And more often than not, I find myself not wanting to say those words. Because I am rich and much to lose.
You see, this morning I realized (to another level) that entering the Kingdom of God is not only something that happens when I die. It is something that I can experience today. When I am generous and give out to the poor, I am living out the Kingdom of God. When I give God wholehearted and unreserved worship (in whatever form) I am experiencing the Kingdom of God. Yet I don’t enter into this, because I have so much I could lose. “How hard it is for the rich to enter”
I hope this all makes sense.
Now I am not only rich in terms of money. I am rich in qualifications (with a degree and a-levels). I am rich in health. I am rich in “self-sufficiency”. I am rich in friends & reputation. This isn’t to boast, but rather these are all areas where I struggle to enter the kingdom of God. Sometimes my giving away is of friendships as I obediently make unpopular decisions. Sometimes I am to give away of health, to spend time with people who are ill. Sometimes God calls me to surrender “self-sufficiency”, as He’s been doing with my year with Navs this year as I have to rely on support from His body (the Church). The list goes on and on. Being rich, is just as much, maybe even moreso, a challenge and an obstacle to entering His Kingdom and experiencing it, each day.
Yet, Jesus also said very soon after, when his disciples asked “who then can be saved?”
“What is impossible for man, is possible for God”.
Therefore I cast myself on Him to help me surrender my riches, both material and intangible. To surrender my pride, for the sake of experiencing the Kingdom. To surrender my appearance, my friendships, my reputation…etc. And as I do I realize the reward outweighs the cost, even if the cost is high the reward is higher.
Please help me God to serve you UNRESERVEDLY and WHOLEHEARTEDLY:
Whatever God wants, Whenever He wants it, Whatever the cost – Scott Burns (..or whoever he heard it from)