The Challenge of Being Rich
By Andy Croft
Rich people are normally other people. People on MTV Cribs, people who sit in first class, girls who wear designer clothes or blokes who play in the premiership. Rich people are normally other people, not us. That’s why when we read Jesus’ saying, “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” (Mt 19:24) we often shrug it off, ‘poor rich guy, glad I’m not completely minted.’
It’s a saying that we find mildly interesting not one that makes us stop short and pay attention. As Job’s conversation and journey continues I just one to make one point today from the New Testament passage: You are rich and that means it’s hard for you to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus isn’t talking about other people; he’s talking about me and you. All it takes to see that we are rich is a couple of clicks on the internet (try it). We have houses, heating, food, clothes, education, healthcare, cars, computers. And it’s no big deal. This is just what we expect. But around 3 billion people live on less than £3 per day – that’s less than the price of a Mcdonalds.
Now stop short. He really is saying it’s hard for you and for me to enter the kingdom of God. The reason it’s hard is because when we have a lot we’ve got a lot to lose. Job discovered that when you have nothing turning to God is your only option; our challenge is we have everything.
Does this mean that we need to sell all of our possessions? From the ipod to the shoes? On the one hand, I don’t want to dumb it down. We are to live generously, we are to give away richly, and we are to live sacrificially so that we can change the lives of those who have nothing. At the same time we’ll never do this perfectly. The rich man had it all wrong, it’s not about what we must do to inherit or earn eternal life – it’s about what He has done. Jesus and nothing else is our hope of salvation, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (vs26).
This is the mystery of the Christian life. He has done it all for us… and so he invites us to give it all for him. I don’t want to suggest we put the entire contents of our bedrooms on ebay right now; but let’s make sure we recognise the challenge of trusting God in a rich world. And let’s rise to that challenge by always being willing, whenever we have the chance, to give to those who have nothing.