Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Problem with Possessions

“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.” (Mark 10:25 CSB)

The statement Jesus made about camels and needles actually began earlier in the day. A young man, wealthy and powerful, came to Him to ask what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus reminded the young man about the law, to which the young man responded proudly that he had kept all of it. Jesus then told him that the one thing he lacked was to sell his possessions, give the proceeds away, and come follow Him. The young man went away disappointed because he had some great, wonderful, superb, valuable possessions. He couldn’t bear to part with them.

Possessions can dominate a person’s life. Just ask the “rich young ruler.” That was his story. He was willing to keep the law, but his devotion to his possessions was unparalleled. He was, in fact, possessed by his possessions rather than the other way around, and that kept him from entering the kingdom of God. He violated the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Jesus used this as a teaching moment for His disciples and shocked them when He said, “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.” They were stunned. The “eye of a needle” may well have been a hole in the city wall. Traders arriving at a city after the city gates were closed for the night could actually get into the city through this “needle’s eye.” The hole was just large enough for a camel on its knees to get through, with one man pulling and another pushing. But the camel had to have everything taken off its back. So, it wasn’t impossible. The disciples saw it as an impossibility, however, so Jesus pointed out that what is impossible with men is possible with God.

Wealth is not the point, however. The point is what people do with it, and how they relate to their wealth or possessions in the context of their relationship with God. Wealth has a tendency to dominate, and it will dominate unless an individual has a deep, abiding, and humble relationship with the Lord.

Lord, May we never allow our possessions or wealth to become the resource that we depend on. Help us to remember that You alone are worthy of our devotion and worship. Amen.

No comments: