Kingdom People – Threads
Can riches keep us out of heaven? They say, “You can’t take it with you.” But is there anything wrong with accumulating as much as possible while we are here?
Once Jesus said, “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” (Mark 10:25). Some have suggested this was a reference to a narrow mountain pass where laden camels had to squeeze through with their cargo. Others believe Jesus was using a ridiculous exaggeration to emphasize how riches can complicate our spiritual life and shipwreck us along the way.
When Jesus’ disciples heard His camel metaphor they asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). So, does God save us from our riches or in spite of them?
While people may not agree on how to interpret Jesus’ camel metaphor, three is one error all us must avoid: that of thinking there is some sort of wealth margin that determines our eternal destiny. In other words, there is no limit to how much we can make or save before we are ruled too rich for heaven. I know this sounds ridiculous, but some of the conversations I have heard on this subject lead me to believe there are those who think this is the case.
The problem isn’t wealth, but rather our core trust in God and its relationship to everything else in our lives. Jesus’ reference to the eye of a needle was in response to a rich man who came to Him seeking eternal life. We can only assume Jesus discerned this man loved his money so dearly he would give up anything to keep it. So Jesus asked him to jettison everything. That’s right! The man had kept all of the Old Testament commandments, but there was one more thing he needed to do. Jesus said, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21).
Do we all need to sell everything we have to inherit eternal life? No. If we have made wealth our idol is it possible we will miss out on eternal life if we don’t? Yes. When we trust anything more than God we distance ourselves from His kingdom authority and put our souls in danger.
There are other idols. In fact, a self-imposed life of poverty can lead to self-righteousness and also keep us from God. If a humble lifestyle teaches us greater reliance on God and opens our eyes to the needs of the downtrodden, then it can be a blessing. But if we spend our time condemning those with more of this world’s wealth and patting ourselves on our backs for our spiritual superiority, we are as guilty as the richest of the rich who put their hope in themselves.
Kingdom people are threads. They move smoothly through the eye of the needle because there is nothing they hold so tightly it cannot be set aside for the sake of eternity. How do we know if we are a thread instead of a camel? While it is true we can be dishonest with ourselves about the nature of our hearts, kingdom threads are generous and invest in what God is doing. Their giving spirit doesn’t puff them up, but rather increases their enthusiasm for kingdom work.
A kingdom thread doesn’t tie a knot in his life to keep him from going “all in.” Instead, he takes away every hindrance and continually allows the Holy Spirit to refine Him for kingdom work.
I will be honest: I have trouble finding the eye of the needle at times. I would rather be in control of my life than trust God completely, and I feel more validated by the world when I can prove my own righteousness then I do simply standing in grace.
In comparison to some, I am not that rich in material terms. In relation to the world, I have more wealth than I will ever use. But I know there isn’t a marker planted somewhere along life’s highway that tells me I have entered the “wealth danger zone.” Rather, the zone is my heart and the danger lies within. If I put God first, everything I own takes on purpose. If I put wealth, or any other idol in front of God, I offer my life on the world’s altar and succumb to its agenda.
Are you a thread or a camel? I have nothing against camels, and they have their place in God’s creation. I just don’t want to be one.