One who loves his riches more than God can
no more enter God’s kingdom than a camel can pass through the eye of a needle.
But if the one who turns to God, accepting God’s complete lordship over his
riches, he will find that eternal life is not only possible, but also
Salvation (eternal life) is not earned,
either by wealth or by poverty; the kingdom of God overturns all human
valuations and possibilities.
A rich young man came to Jesus and said to
Him, “Good Teacher, what good things shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
So Jesus said to him, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
The man said to Jesus, “Which ones?” Jesus
said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not
bear false witness,’ ‘Honour your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love
your neighbour as yourself.’”
The young man said to Jesus, “All these
things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be
perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure
in heaven; and come, follow me.”
But when the young man heard that saying,
he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
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. And
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.”
The rich young man thought salvation could
be achieved by good deeds.
To have eternal live is to enter into
life, to enter the kingdom of heaven and to be saved.
Jesus rejected this man's idea that he could
earn salvation by doing good. Salvation is based on God’s goodness, not ours.
Nevertheless, we do not find eternal life unless we keep the commandments.
We must give to God that complete loyalty
demanded by the Ten Commandments. In the case of the rich young man this meant
giving away his wealth.
For every seeker of salvation it means
giving up whatever is loved more than God, and to be ready to give up what we
love most if Christ asks for it.
Riches keep us from entering God’s kingdom
when we trust in them instead of in God. They tempt us to think that we can
take care of ourselves.
Eye of a needle is a pictorial language.
He who puts wealth ahead of God cannot enter His kingdom. Salvation is from
God. He can cleanse a worldly spirit and change our wrong attitudes concerning
The command to sell everything cannot be
generalised to all, nevertheless, the danger of riches to everyone cannot be
more plain. We may give to many good causes, yet rely on material
possessions. If we rely on them, we cannot rely on God. We can never outgive
Jesus’ promise points primarily to
spiritual rather than material blessings, but it concludes God’s care for our
needs in this world, and in the age to come, we have God’s promise of
eternal life. And, that is the best of both worlds.