We live in a world where we sit in a Starbucks sipping a $4 latte and complain about how we lost a stock investment or that our kid’s tuition for private school is too high or that the price of gas is over $4 a gallon. But did you know that over half the population of the world lives on less than $2 a day? We are rich beyond what we could even understand rich to mean.
I sat in a bible study last year and listened to an Orange County housewife pour her heart out to the group that she was desperate for prayer because her family was in her words, “one paycheck away from being homeless.” I honestly did not know what to say. Really!? Did she even understand what that word meant? God forbid she cut back on her cable bill or cancel her smart phone internet service. But hey, let’s decide we are going to be homeless because we won’t be able to afford the $8,000 a month in household expenses. I wanted to vomit. But then realized this is how most people live. It is how I live. They don’t understand how anyone else lives on $100 a day let alone $2. How could they? All they know is this life they live. People want what they are used to.
Well, guess what? God has another idea for us. Take a look around. Take a look at your checking account. What do you spend your money on? If you gave me 10 minutes in your home and a quick peek at your checkbook for last month I bet I could tell you what is most important to you and your family. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to judge you. I am only asking that you judge yourself.
I woke up one day and realized that I was obsessed. Obsessed with the things of this world. I had to have that bright orange Hermes Dogon wallet. I had to have that uber-cute triple set of Cartier tri-toned bangle bracelets. I had to have the most expensive Tod’s shoes. My car needed to be a luxury model. My hair had to be perfect all the time with the perfect highlights. Horror was the day that I stepped out of my house without makeup. I was indeed obsessed. My obsession was not really in the things themselves. Those are not the sin. It was how they made me feel. I felt better than everyone else when I wore my Hermes H belt. I felt better than others when they did not even know what the really high affluent brands were that I had on because I was “in the know” and they were not.
I was disgusting! I bought into the lure and the lie of this world. It blinded me to what was really important. Jesus. Jesus, only Jesus. How often have you heard a wealthy person say “Money is not the root of all evil, it’s the LOVE of money that is.” Money is a necessary tool and that is all it is. I am not saying you cannot be a Christian if you have a ton of cash. However, the Bible does have something to say about it.
“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
Let’s take a moment to dissect this verse a bit. Part of the issue with how we read the Bible today is that we do not place it in historical context. If we read that verse as we understand it today, that would mean it would be IMPOSSIBLE for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Some claim that is not what Jesus meant at all. I have heard that there was a really small gate in Jerusalem that was extremely hard for camels to get through. Here is what Wikipedia says about it.
The “eye of the needle” has been claimed to be a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed. This story has been put forth since at least the 15th century, and possibly as far back as the 9th century. However, there is no evidence for the existence of such a gate. (emphasis added.)
Variations on this story include that of ancient inns having small entrances to thwart thieves, or a story of an old mountain pass known as the “eye of the needle”, so narrow that merchants would have to dismount from their camels and were thus more vulnerable to waiting brigands. There is no historical evidence for any of these, either. This also ignores the explanation given: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
I have looked all over the internet to find any proof at all that there is or was a gate in Jerusalem that was hard for a camel to pass through. There is none. The point to what Jesus was saying is that it IS impossible and if you keep reading you will see how it can be made possible for a wealthy person to get to Heaven.
And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:26-27
Did you catch that? They were exceedingly astonished. I was in another bible study the other night and brought up this point to another group of wealthy OC churchgoers. I thought I was going to get pitch-forked right out of my seat. One woman in front of me actually hit my leg in outrage while three others literally whipped around in their seats in horror and in disagreement. Take it up with God people. It is not my opinion. The Word of God is clear. Wealth makes us self-reliant, not God-reliant. Wealth gives us the ability to be distracted. With God ALL things are possible and I do know some extremely affluent people who are full fledged converts to Christ who follow him boldly. Oddly those people are few and they do massive and mighty works for God. They do not tithe to God. They tithe to themselves. They give 10% of what they make to themselves and give 90% back to God through church giving, church planting, and spreading the gospel throughout the world.
Can you take a really good look at your life? Can you find out if you love your life and the things in it just a bit more than God? Can you be honest with yourself? Your eternal salvation depends on it.
Below are some great Bible verses to help you digest this all a little bit more. My prayer is that you would test yourself to see if you are truly a Christian. It is a request from Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth. “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Corinthians 13:5
This is not for you to stumble my dear reader and wonder if you are saved every day. Jesus wants us to have assurance of our salvation and that assurance is possible. The point is to have that assurance through seeing that you are bearing good fruit. Check the other areas to audit yourself in the areas of fruit. It is a blessed thing to have confidence in your sanctification and salvation in The Lord!
Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)
Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)
~ Jen O’Sullivan
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. – John 15:19
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. – Matthew 6:24
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. – 1 Timothy 6:10
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. – Mark 4:19