“It’s Hard For a Rich Man to Enter God’s Kingdom”
For me, the season of Lent is an extremely difficult time of the year, yet one I’m grateful for on many levels. The Church in her wisdom has recognized our tendency towards self-blindness and has offered us not just a moment of self- reflection, but a season. Real self-examination inevitably reveals just how idolatrous we truly are.
When I look at the whole of my sin and I examine my divided heart and how it yearns for life's pleasures often times more than for God’s glory, I feel ashamed to call myself a Christian. To bare that mark that so many of God's faithful have borne even unto death and to know that my faith is thin and weak by comparison is a dreadfully depressing thought. Most of the year I think of myself as doing pretty good. I obey God’s laws, at least the big ones. After eleven years in ministry one might even be tempted to think I’d have a pretty good handle on this walk by faith stuff. The truth is a bitter pill. A good self-test for me has been to imagine myself giving up some of my freedoms for Christ. If I’m honest, I squirm at the thought.
I’ve lived most of my life in relative peace and prosperity. I’ve not known the kind of persecution of the generations of Christians who have gone before me.I read about the epic tales of the Martyrs and their unwavering faith under unimaginable circumstances from the comfort of my plush leather chair. The pain of that kind of testing is as far from me as the furthest galaxies in space. Often times I’ll thank God for all the many blessings he’s given my family and I. We are rich in blessings. We have endured such little hardship and been the recipients of such lavish wealth and still my heart whispers “more”. I think King David was on to something when he petitions God in Psalm 26 to put him to the test. David writes, “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;” Could it be that David knew something about the value of God’s right judgments, even being so bold as to ask for them. I’m also reminded of Jesus in Mathew’s gospel when he says to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you that it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, 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.” Mathew 19:23-24.
I am a rich man. If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably a rich man. To walk with Jesus is to take up your cross and that just doesn’t seem very pleasant. This lent, as we examine ourselves and God who is faithful brings us out of our spiritual blindness, may we endeavor to live as becomes a true follower of Christ. We have a hope in Jesus Christ and I'm comforted to know that He knows my frame and that my salvation doesn’t rest on my ability to live up, but on Christ’s. It may be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom, but thanks to Jesus it’s not impossible.