Perea: What Camels Can't Do
“How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, 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” (Luke 18:24-25).
They must have laughed when Jesus said it.
Camels can’t go through the eye of a needle. Totally impossible. Not just difficult but totally, absolutely, 100% impossible.
Equally absurd is the idea of a rich man going to heaven.
We’re more like the rich young ruler man than we would like to admit. Most of us would secretly agree with the fellow who said, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor just so long as you have a lot of money.”
We must not try to wiggle out of this. When Jesus says the eye of a needle, he means the eye of a needle. Like the needle you do sewing with. When he says camel, he means a big camel that you ride across the desert. He says, “Look at a camel and the eye of a needle. It is easier to get a big camel through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to go to heaven.”
Why? Because rich people trust in their riches. A poor person says, “If Jesus doesn’t come through for me, I’m sunk.” A rich man says, “If Jesus doesn’t come through for me, that’s okay. I’ve got my pension. I’ve got my stocks and bonds. I’ve got my options. I’ve got my golden parachute. I’ve got my safety net. If he doesn’t come through it doesn’t matter. I’m taking care of things myself.”
I read about a wealthy man whose son died in a plane crash. Speaking of it later, he said, “Once you lose your son, you find out that there is no such thing as serious money. Life and death are serious, money is not.”
Here is the good news of the gospel: Even rich people can be saved if they will give up their trust in their riches. The richest people on earth can be saved but they’ve got to stop trusting in their riches and they’ve got to start trusting in Jesus Christ and him alone.
This leads to two simple yet profound conclusions:
First, as long as you make money the measure of your life, you will be empty and unfulfilled.
Father, forgive us for loving money so much that we have no room for you. Grant that we might realize our deepest need so that you can provide for us the “one thing” we lack. In Jesus name, Amen.