October 10

Mark 10:23-31

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” vs. 25

People have had a hard time with this saying of Jesus. In our wealth-worshipping culture, in a country where so many aspire to becoming rich, we wonder how in the world he could have spoken such heresy. Many preachers, to assuage the consciences of congregants, have bent over backward to come up with sermons that take the sting out of his words. They tell stories about camels and needles and make it seem as though he was really encouraging humility, that this was just Jesus’ metaphorical way of telling his followers to seek moderation in all things. And their hearers go away relieved, thankful that they don’t need to be troubled by their excessive wealth. The problem is that Jesus meant what he said. Wealth is a huge issue in our capitalistic world and we should all be troubled by our obsessive infatuation with possessions. Now Jesus isn’t saying that the rich are going to go to hell when they die–but he is telling us that kingdom living requires the renunciation of riches. We can never know the joy and peace of simple living when our minds are preoccupied with investments and returns. Is it possible in our world to live simply? Of course, as he told the disciples, “for God all things are possible.” By grace, we who have so much, can learn to live as though we have nothing.

Thought for the Day: What would I do if I lost my wealth?

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