23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” 28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
In this interaction between Jesus and His disciples, I hear a warning. The human heart needs and wants to find fulfillment – ultimately, salvation. The temptation of the rich is often to think their riches = their salvation. As a result, their hearts are full and satisfied already because they “have” salvation. The trust of their heart is fully invested in their riches.
I read Jesus point about it being hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God being one of – it’s almost impossible for anyone who is greatly invested in another trust other than Jesus to give up that trust and follow Jesus. Why would you give up your salvation, unless you knew it was a false salvation. Impossible unless God is involved in the process of bringing freedom to our hearts!
The disciples have been freed to trust in Jesus, as evidenced by their following him. But Peter is concerned, thinking something along these lines – “our highest trust is now given to you Jesus, but we’ve left some pretty comfortable life trusts work, family, etc. – to put you first. I do hope this will all work out.”
Jesus responds: “It’s all good Peter, I know what you’ve done and there is great promise ahead for you. With me, the future is incredible, beyond what you can imagine. But it’s not going to be an easy journey to get there, so let’s set your expectations right. Don’t expect a cushy journey. Nothing of such great worth ever comes easy and without being contested. But know that the future is as sure and true as I am.”
I am thankful for Peter’s honest engagement with Jesus, as well as Jesus’ response. The bottom line is thus: to enter the Kingdom of God, I must lay down whatever else has ultimate allegiance and priority in my life in favour of Jesus. Any desire, any purpose, any “thing” that does not help me keep my trust in Jesus and His promises of ultimate fulfilment are a dangerous distractions that can turn my heart away from Him.
Lord, You call us to have our hearts full of trust in you. Jesus, help me to remain strong against the temptation to accumulate as “salvation security” wealth and riches instead of you.You promise incomparable fulfilment and true riches, so Lord I trust in you above all else.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh