Can you fit through the eye of a needle?
This is a guest article from Bob who blogs at ChristianPF.com which serves as a resource for Christians to get practical tips, biblical revelation, and wisdom about how to handle our personal finances. If you like this article, make sure you subscribe to his blog.
Ah, you know the verse. It’s the one that people love to quote when they are trying to prove that Christians should be poor because it appears to be more righteous. Well, is it really?
“For 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.”
Let’s look at the definition of “rich,” and see who qualifies.
According to Webster’s Dictionary:
Rich = having abundant possessions and especially material wealth
Why doesn’t it tell me how much money I need to have to actually be rich?
In fact, I looked the definition up in 7 different dictionaries and not one gives a specific definition of rich. None of them offer a specific annual income to indicate if you are rich or not… Hmmm… so how can we know who is rich and who isn’t? Where is the line drawn?
Is it the top 10% wealthiest people? The top 5% or 1%?
Well, if you make $25,000 per year you are richer than 90% of the world. If you make $34,000 per year you are in the top 5%. And if you make $50,000 you are in the top 1% of the richest people in the world. (Find out for yourself here.)
So, how do you define rich? Are you wealthier than you realized?
The verse can really strike fear into the hearts of people causing them to run from money. But the truth is that money isn’t the issue. It is a matter of the heart. If we understand that the money isn’t ours, but that it is actually God’s and we are merely stewards of it, then it will be easier to not depend on it. Someone who realizes that he/she is a steward cannot be rich, because they know it isn’t their money.
Won’t I be safe if I never have a lot of money?
Many people have taken this verse to think that by not having much you are safe. By laying back and not really working hard you can rest assured that you will never have much money come into your hands, so therefore you can’t be rich like the verse mentions.
Personally, I think Jesus addressed this in the Parable of the talents. The steward to whom he gave one talent did nothing with it except bury it. The master called him a wicked and lazy. To me that rules out the possibility that just being lazy and not earning money will make you righteous.
So what do you do?
Stop serving money. The Bible says you cannot serve God and money (Matt 6:24). You have to pick. We will either make decisions based on our walk with God or based on how they will affect us financially. Should you take that job? “Of course, it pays more,” is not the correct response. Our decisions should not be made solely on their impact on our wallets.
Be content. It doesn’t matter whether we have a lot or a little. We are called to be content with what we have. The apostle Paul talked about how he learned how to be content whether he was in a dungeon or living in the king’s palace. He understood contentment.
Don’t be afraid of money. It is the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil. Not money itself. If that were the case, then nothing good could come out of it. But everyday God’s purposes and plans are coming to pass via the use of money.
Give. Giving is a tangible way to break any attachment to money. If you don’t want to give, that is probably a good indication that you need to give.
Photo by: gruntzooki