“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” (Matthew 19:23). Jesus said this famous statement after a rich young ruler walked away sad because he was not willing to give up his riches to “enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The gate that Jesus pointed to him to “enter into life” (Matthew 19:17) was too “strait” and the “way” was too “narrow” (Matthew 7:13, 14). Satan had successfully entrapped this rich young ruler to this earth by his riches.
By this statement, Jesus was attacking the preconceived ideas of His time. The Pharisees taught that riches were evidence of God’s approval on a person (Luke 16:14). But Jesus pointed that although riches are a gift from God, those that are blessed by it may make the deadly decision to have it as an idol.
For this reason, Jesus warned His followers, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses…So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:15, 21).
Jesus didn’t leave His hearers without hope. Wealth in itself should not deter one from heaven, it is the attitude one holds towards wealth that would do so. Abraham was “very rich” (Genesis 13:2) and at the same time, he was “the Friend of God” (James 2:23). He didn’t trust in his riches to deliver him nor did he place it before God.
Even though it seems impossible for a rich man to be saved, with God’s power, he can give up his riches for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The apostle Matthew gave up his wealth in order that he might follow the Master (Mark 2:13, 14). And Zacchaeus, the wealthy tax collector also gave up his love and greed for money for the love of God (Luke 19:2, 8).
In His service,
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