Matthew 19: 23-30
Eze 28:1-10 / Deut 32
Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
If giving’s rare when most have less,
It doesn’t mean that life’s unfair;
For those who care our God will bless
The little they intend to share.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be 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.” When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “We have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:23-30)
Jesus was using a figure of speech called hyperbole when He said “…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.” It was to emphasize the impossibility of entering heaven for one so attached to his wealth. In fact, nothing that man does can qualify him entrance into heaven. Only God’s grace and mercy can. When Peter boldly asked what recompense they could expect after they had left everything to follow Jesus, He said to them, (and to us) “…Every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first” (Mt.19:30). That rich young man who walked away, in spite of his righteousness, would surely be last.
Many have been led astray by the illusion that happiness and fulfillment largely come from wealth. The reality is that in most cases wealth has only brought conflicts and broken relationships where there was once peace and harmony; greed, anxiety and mistrust where there was once kindness, peace of mind and faith. History is full of wealthy, successful men who lived miserable lives, like Howard Hughes, Paul Getty, Charles Lindbergh, etc. who lived happier lives in earlier simpler lifestyles. Our Lord is clearly telling us that wealth IS an obstacle to REAL life, whether on earth or in heaven. It is a heavy burden and a handicap in our journey to the Father’s kingdom.
The other misconception — even in the renewal — is that wealth is a consequence of God’s blessing on a righteous person. If that is so, does it follow that poverty and disease are signs of God’s punishment? We must never evaluate spirituality on the basis of worldly standards. The only measure that would apply is the extent of our own sacrifices and willingness to give of ourselves and our resources, especially to the poor and the helpless. In response to our national president’s call for raising funds for the flood victims in Manila, we appeal to the generosity of the general membership to share during these hard times. This is an opportunity for us to reflect the genuine concern of the Brotherhood for the least of God’s children.
We thank You, Father, for making us rich, not in material wealth, but in Your grace of generosity. Amen.
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