“But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” (Matthew 19:26)
Are you rich? If you have an income of at least $32,400 per year, then the rest of the world says you are.
Several global income and wealth studies conducted over the past two years verify that an income of at least $32,400 per year would put someone among the top 1% of all income earners worldwide. I’m going to go out on a limb here to guess that most of you reading this blog thus fall into the wealthiest 5% of the entire world, if not the top 1%, according to your yearly wages.
Whether you feel rich or not relative to your immediate peers doesn’t really matter. Statistics show that if you were literally lined up alongside the other 7.8 billion people in the world, God could certainly point you out and say that based on the resources He’s given you, you are literally one of the richest people in the world.
Many of us are so blessed yet we complain about not having enough money to buy a certain phone model, or a certain pair of shoes, or a certain brand of clothing or accessories, or a certain video game system, or eat at a certain restaurant, or go on a certain vacation, or do a certain home remodeling project. When we can’t regularly afford those luxuries in life, we consider ourselves poor or that we’re “just getting by”.
I am convinced that those of us who are in the top 1% of the world are also the most distracted by our money and finances. We’re consumed with our financial standing and take our “first-world problems” as seriously as those in third-world countries who are desperate for a mere cup of clean drinking water.
Because of this hyper-focus on how much we earn or how much wealth we can accumulate, our money and resources have become an idol. We are bombarded with distractions of pride (How much do I make?), envy (How much do I make compared to my friends?), greed (I can’t give to someone else, I barely have enough for myself!), gluttony (I need to make X amount a year so I can indulge on XYZ and truly enjoy my life!), among so many other sins that a focus on wealth can bring.
1 Timothy 6:10 warns us, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
This is one of the reasons I believe that Jesus told the parable of the Rich Young Man found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Jesus is pointing out that those who are materially wealthy are going to have the hardest time getting into heaven due to their focus on riches, in place of putting their focus on loving God and others instead. It’s going to be so difficult for them that it would be “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle” (Matt. 19:24). And yes, that includes those of us in the top 1% of the world!
His disciples are astonished and question who then can ever be saved, and Jesus replies in v26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Back in biblical times having wealth was interpreted as a sign of living a noble life of obedience, and people believed then (and even now) that if you are a good person with a materially-blessed life, that means you also have a ticket to heaven. But Jesus came to tell us that it’s not about what you have, but Who you follow.
We can’t save ourselves y’all. Neither will our salary, fame, fortune, worldly stature or position, save us. It doesn’t matter what you earn or accomplish here on earth if you don’t know Jesus as Lord. We’re all going to die one day, and guess what, we can’t take our riches with us. Truly accepting Jesus as your Lord means that in your heart, you are genuinely willing to give it all up to follow Him, something the Rich Young Man wasn’t willing to do.
Whether you’re rich or poor, salvation doesn’t come through the work of man, but ONLY comes through a relationship with Christ. Jesus reminds us in John 14:16, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If you’re saying to yourself, “Well shoot, I AM the Rich Young Man/Woman… 😩” take heart and know that God is merciful and patient! If you’re not there yet in your faith but want to be, continuously pray that He would transform your heart and break the chains of slavery to your finances.
This is a hard lesson, but it’s important. Don’t put your hope, trust, confidence, or faith in your wealth, material blessings, or earthly circumstances. Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, but Jesus shows us the narrow road that leads to life.
While the rest of the world worships their riches, choose to worship Christ instead.