“And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.'” (Matthew 19:23)
One of the best methods that the enemy of our souls has of stealing the word of God from our hearts is to have us believe that it applies to someone else, and not us. This may especially be the case with this present verse. How many of us today tend to skip lightly over this verse because, after all, “we are not rich”? But in actuality we are the very ones Jesus is addressing!
Many “middle class Americans” do not consider themselves to be “rich” — after all, they have no servants, do not live in a mansion, etc. But the truth is, most Americans by almost any current world standard ARE in fact “rich”. The Daily Mail published an article just a couple of years ago which led off with the following:
“America IS the 1%: You need just $34,000 annual income to be in the global elite… and HALF the world’s richest people live in the U.S. Global median salary is $1,225, says leading economist.”
Does that put things in perspective a little bit? If you live in the United States of America, you are most likely among the richest people in our world! Which also means that Jesus isn’t speaking to someone ELSE here in Matthew 19:23; He is speaking to YOU!
He said that it is hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This is true for a number of reasons. When you have money, you do not feel “needy”, and so you don’t realize that you need a Savior. When you are rich (as by world standards most of my readers are) you can immerse yourself in all kinds of entertainment: music, movies, internet, sports, and other hobbies, which keep you distracted from what is really the most important business of life: seeking God, and making certain of eternal life with Him. And when you are rich, it can be difficult to be humble — and Jesus said earlier in Matthew 18 that one must humble himself like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Ever been distracted from spending time with God by your entertainment? Ever hesitated to humble yourself spiritually because of what people might think? Ever been so comfortable here on earth that you didn’t really look forward to leaving, and taking up residence in your home in heaven? That’s because you are rich. And Jesus wasn’t speaking to “someone else” when He uttered this verse; He was talking to YOU!