17 As Jesus continued down the road, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?”
18 Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God. 19 You know the commandments: Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Don’t cheat. Honor your father and mother.”
20 “Teacher,” he responded, “I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him. He said, “You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.” 22 But the man was dismayed at this statement and went away saddened, because he had many possessions.
23 Looking around, Jesus said to his disciples, “It will be very hard for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom!” 24 His words startled the disciples, so Jesus told them again, “Children, it’s difficult to enter God’s kingdom! 25 It’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”
26 They were shocked even more and said to each other, “Then who can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible with human beings, but not with God. All things are possible for God.”
Right in the middle of our focus on stewardship, we come to this difficult passage about our relationship with money. No matter how comfortable a pastor is with speaking about money in church, this is one of the harder scriptures to speak about, because its sure to offend someone, and sure to confound many of us!
When Jesus says that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven, the question often becomes, "how rich is too rich"? Is it too rich if all the adults in one family have a car available for their use? Is it too rich if you have a closet full of clothes? What if I'm donating my used clothing and financially to Good Will or Micah Ministries? Does that offset my riches?
One scholar noted that it is interesting how so many of us are willing to take many other scriptures in the Bible for imagery and parable, that have deeper meaning than their particular description, but when it comes to this particular passage, many Christians become quite legalistic. Is it out of fear? Is it out of misunderstanding? Is it out of anxiety?
Come join us on Sunday morning as we discuss this passage. Come find an answer to the question, "How rich is too rich?" Moreover, come join us on Sunday morning as we lift up this conversation and these questions to God, and as we worship God for all that we are given, for all the ways we know we can say thank you.
ALL are welcome as this table, at this discussion, at this worshiping community!