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Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 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.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
More than Just Blessings
I live in a society that’s grounded on competition and acquisition. Often we measure the value of people by the amount of stuff they accumulate, and we give special breaks and advantages to those who’ve acquired the most, regardless of how that acquisition was made. Now that represents the world within which I live. And for that reason, it shouldn’t be surprising that many religious people equate spirituality and faith with wealth. In other words, God blesses the righteous with cash, with money and those things that money can buy. And as a result, those who’ve been “blessed” are often viewed on a higher spiritual plain. And many assume that folks in need have some spiritual flaw that has interfered with God’s gravy train. And those of us in the middle, well, possessions become a major source of our frustrations and an important part of our prayers.
But as Jesus’s conversation with the rich man suggests, wealth isn’t primarily a sign of divine blessings. Now I’m not saying it’s a curse, but it’s also not just an indication of divine favor. Rather, it’s also a sign of responsibility, because the holders of wealth are responsible take what they have and to use it for those in need. And it’s a sign of opportunity, because everyone who has more than they actually need has the opportunity to demonstrate what it really means to trust in God. And so, if we choose to call the stuff we acquire and accumulate blessings, I think we also need to recognize what God has called the blest to do with them.