Harder for the Rich

Our Gospel reading today was Matthew 19:23-30.  It’s the one where Jesus says it’s very hard for a rich person to get into heaven.  Like his disciples, I wondered why.  His disciples apparently felt that rich people were especially blessed by God.  If anyone would have an easy path to heaven it would be them.

What came to me is that, first of all, in order for us to be saved we have to realize our need for God.  Rich people may have a problem with that.  They tend to think they’re self-sufficient.  It may be hard for them to realize their need for God.  Secondly, the Gospel repeatedly tells us not to value worldly riches but to seek first the kingdom of God.  It calls us to be generous and to give our money to the needy.  Like the rich young man in the Gospel, people generally don’t get rich by giving their money away.  So that may be a challenge for a rich person.

But then it occurred to me that I am actually a rich person.  In fact, though we may not consider ourselves rich, most Americans are very rich by the world’s standards.  That’s a challenging thought.  But when the disciples asked Jesus “Who then can be saved?”, Jesus responded “With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible.”  That’s the good news.


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