The Peril of Riches!

The Peril of Riches!

The Peril of Riches!

Mark 10:23-25

  • “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! . . . 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.”

These words were shocking to Christ’s own disciples and they are seemingly unbelievable to most people today! After Jesus told the rich young ruler that he must sell all he possessed and give it to the poor and then follow Him, the man turned away in sorrow for “he was one who owned much property” (Mark 10:21-22).

Our Lord knew that this man did not possess his possessions, but they possessed him. Christ knew that money and possessions captivate the heart and control our life. Money becomes a virtual “god” to many people. This is why Jesus stated, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24). We must choose whether we will serve God through Christ or whether we will be captivated by money, possessions, property, retirement funds, stocks, land, and bank accounts.

Jesus said it was “hard” for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God (Mark 10:23). He went so far as to say that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter God’s kingdom (v. 25)! The disciples might have thought of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, and Solomon–all of whom had earthly riches. But Jesus here stresses that the rich in this present age are in deep trouble! Peter responded to this by saying that he and his fellow apostles had left everything to follow Jesus. Then the Lord assured him that all who have left house, wife, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, fields, and farms for the sake of Christ and the gospel would receive eternal life in the age to come (vv. 28-30; cf. Luke 18:29-30; Matthew 19:29).

Surely this is a revolutionary message! It was amazing to the disciples themselves (Mark 10:24) and it is incredible to people today. We somehow assume that we can pursue the wealth of this life, we can drive the luxury automobiles, we can live in the opulent homes, we can take extravagant vacations to the Caribbean and sightseeing tours of Europe, we can weekly dine in expensive restaurants, and we can pile up unneeded money in the bank and still be a follower of Christ.

In fact, some false teachers–of the “health and wealth” or “prosperity” variety–in our day claim that the Christian should “claim the promise” of material goods and financial wealth! Jesus said that it cannot be done. He said that we must not “store up for [ourselves] treasures on earth” but must determine to “store up . . . treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Paul the apostle warns that a pursuit of riches will “plunge men into ruin and destruction” for “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). We are responsible to use our money, our possessions, our property for the cause of Christ, for the blessing of others, and for the glory of God (1 Timothy 6:17-19; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15). This is the startling teaching that our Lord gives to us who would follow Him as genuine disciples. How do you look at money?

Richard Hollerman

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