By Paul Smithson
A wealthy young man ran up to Jesus and asked the greatest question anyone can ask, “What must I do to obtain eternal life?” (Mk. 10:17-27). Jesus in reply pointed out the necessity of obedience to God’s commands saying, “You know the commandments, Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother” (v.19). The young man said, “Teacher I have kept all of these things from my youth up.” The text then says, “Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him…” (vv. 20,21). Because Jesus loved him He plainly pointed out the one thing that was holding him back from eternal life saying, “Go and sell all you possess and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven’ and come and follow Me.” At Jesus’ words the young man’s ” face fell, and he went away grieved…” (vv. 21,22)
The “one thing” that the young man lacked was his total allegiance to the Lord. Though he was a good, moral man, there was one part of his life he had not given to the Lord. “One thing” stood in his way— his love of material things.
When this young man went away grieved, Jesus looking around said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were amazed at His words” (v. 23). How many today are amazed at these words?
Many who claim to be Christians will be disappointed when they fail to inherit eternal life because they allowed riches to come between them and their full allegiance to Christ. We must realize that it is hard for the rich to go to heaven, and most of us in this country are rich in many ways. Oh, we might not be millionaires, but you don’t have to be a millionaire to be rich, nor do you have to be a millionaire to allow riches keep you out of heaven.
To further emphasize this fact Jesus continued, “Children how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 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.’ And they were even more astonished and said to Him, ‘Then who can be saved?” (v. 24). How hard is it for a rich person to enter into heaven? Well, how hard is it to get a camel through the eye of an needle? It is impossible isn’t it. We too might ask, “Lord if that is the case who can be saved? Who then can ever enter into heaven?”
Jesus, looking upon the disciples said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God” (v. 27). It is impossible for man by his own ability to go to heaven. Yet, nothing is impossible for God. He has a means of saving man, even a rich man.
However, the point is the rich man’s heart must be changed. His heart must be attached to the true riches, treasure in heaven, instead of the material things of this world. It’s not easy for anyone to enter the kingdom of God. As Jesus stated in Matt. 7:14, “The gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” It is especially difficult for the rich; the reason being, it is hard for those who have riches not to trust in them.
When we love and trust in material things we rely on ourselves and not God, which makes it impossible to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle! Whether you possess a little or a lot of this world’s possessions the only way to inherit eternal life is to completely submit your life to Jesus by obeying His commandments