Matthew 19: 24 “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

I often see articles or statements listing the richest men in the world. These lists usually include names like Gates, Musk, Bezos or the crown prince of some oil-rich middle-eastern country.

Apparently there is a tremendous amount of resentment, animosity or even hatred directed toward these people. Essentially, these feelings originate out of a lack of knowledge.Microsoft (Gates) employs over 180,000 people. This is not counting the thousands (possibly millions worldwide) indirectly employed because of the existence of that company. The total number of people being fed, housed and clothed because of Microsoft is surely in the millions.

Elon Musk directly employs nearly 60,000 people. He is the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. Once again, the spin-off jobs because of this one individual are virtually uncountable.

Jeff Bezos, founder and owner of Amazon is responsible for thousands of jobs. By a 2019 headcount, Amazon employees numbered at 798,000 people. The delivery jobs also number in the thousands and the shipping industry employs thousands.

The point I would make here is, without the movers and the shakers, our world would face a state of poverty (and consequently starvation) quite unlike anyone could imagine. I’ll be the first to admit and agree, a CEO of a major corporation is probably not worth a thirty or forty million dollar salary, but without these super intelligent, aggressive and brave people, the economy would be in ruins.

They keep the corporations and manufacturing industries operating and making a profit. The next time any of us feels like condemning any of these people for their riches or exorbitant salaries, we must stop and think about the millions of people they are directly or indirectly responsible for.

We have worked mission project in several countries where socialism or communism is the system of government. When everyone is placed on a level playing field economically, there is no incentive to excel. When there are no leaders, no one elevated to make those hard decisions, everyone suffers. Survival with a meager sustenance is a daily goal for many in our world.

Have you ever heard of the Cuban Dream? Or the Chinese Dream? Of course not, because there is no such thing, but you have heard of the American Dream. The dream of people in many countries is to come to America so they can pursue the American dream.

The Bible speaks often about the rich, but it also refers to the poor. Mark 14: 7 “Jesus said, I will be here but a short time but the poor will be with you always.”

The Bible, however, refers to the rich many more times than the poor. It seems to me, the admonition by God to the rich is, “Do not let your riches come between you and Him.”

In today’s world the word “rich” takes on numerous meanings. It may mean one is rich in love or generosity. We may even speak of “rich” chocolate or refer to a statement with “that’s rich.” In Bible times, rich usually referred to one having great possessions such as money, land, or valuables such as gold or jewels.

God rewarded Solomon with gold and other riches so it appears God considers wealth a reward or perhaps a blessing. Solomon was rewarded with wealth simply because he asked God for “wisdom with which to lead this great people of Yours” (2 Chronicles 1:10).

The reality of the scripture is a warning not to let money come between us and God. In 1 Timothy 6: 10, Paul cautions us with this statement, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” Notice Paul states, “The love of money,” not the money itself. If used for the Glory of God, money is a very good thing to have. Without money, missionaries could not be sent to the “uttermost” (Acts 1: 8) to preach the Gospel in a world that is two-thirds non-Christian.

Without money, the cathedrals and churches around the world could not have been built. When traveling in Europe, one of my key points of interest and in the “must see” category, are the massive cathedrals. Many of them were built over 1000 years ago and still stand to demonstrate the work and riches of God’s people.

Money tends to be a point of contention in and among many of God’s people. A friend recently said to me, “I don’t go to church because the preachers always are begging for money and tell me I’m going to hell if I don’t give mine to him.” This friend is a believer in our Jesus but feels the pulpit is not a place to administer admonitions seeking money.

I personally have felt many speakers from the pulpits have left people with the belief they can buy their way into heaven. Nothing could be farther from the truth simply because the Bible teaches we are saved from hell and damnation only by our faith based belief that Jesus was crucified for the remission of sin and resurrected. A “tithing sermon” is appropriate occasionally simply because it is a subject addressed in the Bible. Tithing is an act of obedience and actually has little to do with money. The New Testament Church is anchored to the new covenant and the connecting scripture is 2 Corinthians 9: 7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver”

In the leading scripture (Matthew 19: 24), Jesus used “the eye of a needle” as a reference. Many believe He was referring to a gate entering Jerusalem. The “eye” was a smaller gate which was opened at night after the main, or larger, gate was closed. A camel could not pass through the smaller gate unless it stooped and had its baggage removed.

We all have “baggage.” Some are past sins that may linger in our minds with great regret; some are current sinful habits or lifestyles. No one has a right to condemn or judge another because of whatever that baggage might be. Romans 3: 23 “For all have sinned,” is the great equalizer. We are all on that level playing field.

We may find ourselves a little envious of those men mentioned in the beginning of this article. We also may be inclined to judge them in that they are seen as placing their wealth above all else. We do not know this, it can only be speculation.

All have something in our lives that could be seen as a possession that we may place before God. Money seems to be the number one culprit but there are many more. Power and prestige may be regarded by many as coming between them and God. Family or social status or entertainment or one’s physical condition may be the “root of all evil” in the hearts and minds of some.

In Luke 18: 18-24, Jesus was asked by a “certain young ruler,” “What must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor. Of course, the young man could not do that because those things were his life. Jesus, of course, knew he would not do that but He was making a point.

The point was: a person’s treasures must be prioritized. Never let those earthly possessions take a higher priority than God. Matthew 6: 21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

We cannot ever let anything come between us and our Creator Savior. If we can adhere to that, we have riches unequalled on this earth.

Matthew 6: 19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” For any true believer-follower of the Lord Jesus, richness exists in the possession of salvation and, without a doubt we are rich in his love and blessings.