“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Jesus, Mark 10:25).

The populations of more than 130 countries in our global community live off of less than $10,000 annually. Consider these startling figures. The average income of the following countries is listed in terms of annual income:

  • China – $1290.00/year
  • Peru – $2360.00/year
  • Yemen(startling because it is a country rich with oil) – $570.00/year
  • Ghana – $380.00 year (though each World Cup player was paid $20,000.00 per victory in the World Cup)
  • Ethiopia – $110.00/year
  • Iran – $2300.00/year

The average income in the United States: $41,400.00. It is true that that United States is not without the poor, but is there any disputing that the majority of citizens in the United States should lend their ear to the warning Jesus offers in Mark 10:25? If Jesus is right, very few people who prosper in this life will inherit the kingdom of God. If we take the words of Scripture at face value, and thoroughly examine church history and the lives of the pillars of the faith who have gone before us, it is the exception, not the rule, that those who were rich in Christ, were not those who are rich in this world. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul concerning the calling of God’s people:

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1Cor 1:26-29).

Fame, wealth, power and prestige are the ways of this world. But God’s economy turns the world’s standards on its head and shows us that the way to the Kingdom is not the path of prestige, fame, comfort, or wealth. God uses what is foolish to lead His people into His presence where there are eternal pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11).

Jesus’ words expose the folly of the prosperity gospel circulating in Western culture. And Jesus’ words should also cause our hearts to tremble, those of us who are rich in this world. It should provoke us to examine our hearts and the things that we value in this world, to be sure that we value Christ more than we value our comforts and prizes. May we recognize, as St. Augustine did, that “the love of worldly possessions entangles the soul and keeps it from flying to God.”

Advertisements