(This is the second in a series of three meditations on the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19.)
“When the young man heard that command, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions” (Matthew 19:22, HCSB).
Matthew 19:13-30 relates the familiar story of the encounter of Jesus with a man traditionally identified as a rich young ruler. This passage describes the encounter between Jesus and the rich young ruler. In a debriefing with His disciples after the encounter, Jesus made the well-known camel-through-the-eye-of-a-needle analogy, depicting the difficulty confounding rich people entering into God’s Kingdom.
Now, the rich young ruler seemed to be a person who wanted to do the right thing.
He wanted to acknowledge God in his life and be faithful to Him so he could make it into heaven.
But, according to Jesus, there was something preventing him from finding completeness in God–his many possessions!
Unfortunately, the problem in the rich young ruler’s life is one frequently faced by us today–that of overabundance.
When living in a land of plenty where financial success is the defining quality of a person’s identity or self-esteem, it is difficult to relinquish the care and provision of our lives to God and His unseen Kingdom.
Following the tragic ending to this encounter with the rich young ruler, the disciples apparently were troubled by the way in which Jesus handled the matter.
Just as successful people in our society are highly esteemed, in the culture of the disciples it was assumed that wealthy people were wealthy because they were blessed by God.
Obviously, the rich young ruler was a person that was blessed by God. So why did Jesus require more of him than just keeping God’s commandments?
So, Jesus laughingly declared that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God! But, Jesus provided this disclaimer to the issue of rich people going to heaven: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (vs. 26).
Unfortunately, like this rich man, many people will not find completeness in God because they are involved in God’s Kingdom only to the extent that it is convenient or expedient. They will give a little to God, but not give up everything for God.
They keep God’s commandments but never really experience the reality of God’s care and provision over their lives; they never find completeness in God, because they don’t think they really need His help!
But, in God’s Kingdom, it’s not what you have that counts.
What you possess may have relevance for this world, but what you are or are becoming in Christ has relevance for eternal life!
So, obtaining eternal life is not about being rich or poor, but about the Kingdom of God being the authentic priority of your life.
Is God’s Kingdom an authentic priority for you?
It’s an easy question to answer.
Consider this. How do you spend your time and money?
Whatever you spend your time and money on is what’s really important to you!
- Threading Needles with Camels – Part 1 (When Good Isn’t Good Enough) (stevesbiblemeditations.com)
- Threading Needles with Camels – Part 3 (Eliminating Competing Priorities) (stevesbiblemeditations.com)