“Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!'” (Mark 10:23, NET).
He had just left. Saddened by Jesus’ command to sell everything. To give his money to the poor. He had great wealth. The problem was, he loved his money.
Probably, the disciples stared unbelieving at Jesus, perplexed that he would let go such a fine specimen of a successful, well-principled man. Perhaps they were waiting for Jesus to call the rich man back and offer to negotiate softer terms.
But Jesus let him go. Because he accepts no one with divided loyalties.
Riches stick fast and hard to the heart. They are removed only by drastic surgery.
If you have a car, a TV, a computer, and more than one pair of shoes, you are wealthy. You are wealthy.
Doesn’t matter that you may consider yourself middle class or barely getting by. You are a rich person by this world’s standards.
As such, you and I (I’m rich, too) had better take to heart what Jesus says.
Love of wealth grows while we sleep. It stretches its tentacles up our veins while we brush our teeth. It graces our necks with sparking jewels. It polishes our cars with a special wax.
We collect and hoard. Our houses can’t hold it all, so we rent space to store our stuff.
We throw out yesterday’s treasures to make room for today’s latest purchases. The fashion label that costed a fortune now goes in the yard sale for 50 cents.
We entertain ourselves to death and die of boredom.
We waste more food in a day than most the world eats in a week.
And we assuage guilt by buying more, eating more, consuming more.
We don’t need more guilt. We need repentance. A change of heart and habit.
To his disciples Jesus said those words.
After he looked around at them all.
After his gaze seared holes in divided loyalties.
“How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
Love of wealth bars the door to heaven. We are wealthy; do we love it?