Would you like to have a million dollars? Probably most of us would answer yes to that question. A famous comedienne by the name of Sophie Tucker once said, “I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor. Believe me, rich is better.” I wonder what Jesus would have to say about that? Maybe after reading this week’s Bible story, you might think differently.
One day, as Jesus was walking along the road, a rich young man came running up to him. “Good teacher,” the man said, “what must I do to have eternal life?”
“You know the commandments,” Jesus answered. “‘Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not tell lies. Do not cheat. Honor your father and mother.’”
“I have obeyed those commandments since I was a child,” the rich young man replied.
The Bible says that Jesus looked at the young man and loved him. Then He said to him, “You lack only one thing. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, so that you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard those words, he sadly turned and walked away because he owned many things.
Jesus looked at his disciples and said, “How hard it is for rich people to get into the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were shocked. Jesus continued, “It is very hard to get into the Kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Wow, that would be hard, wouldn’t it?
“Then who in the world can be saved?” the disciples asked.
“With man it is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God,” Jesus answered.
Jesus didn’t mean that just because someone has a lot of money or a lot of things, they aren’t a Christian or can’t go to heaven. It was not because he was rich that the young man could not enter the Kingdom. It was because his love for the money and things was more important to him than his love for God. If anyone wants to enter the Kingdom of God, he must give God first place in his life.
Who wants to be a millionaire? Maybe that isn’t so important after all.
Let’s say a prayer together. Dear Father, help us remember to give You first place in our lives. Let us remember it is not how much money we have, or how smart we are, or how popular we are that will get us into heaven. It is accepting Christ as our Savior and putting Him first that is important. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is a retired pastor, formerly of the Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.