Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?” The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult. I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.”
That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.
Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.” – Mark 10:23-27 MSG
It amazes me day after day just how God uses the simplest of situations to speak His word in our hearts. One of these “situations” happened to me just recently. In sitting with a group of people one person began to tell us a story. As we listened they proudly went on to explain their accomplishment over another person they deemed as a “little person” (something you get stuck under your shoe…) and that this person, in so many words, got what they deserved by trying to take them on. As I sat and listened I immediately began to feel a strong distaste and downright offense that rose up in me. I continued to think to myself “I could never imagine treating another as if what they had to offer, or their status in life, was beneath me!”
Sadly enough, but in my own thoughts about the words this person spoke, and my very quick and internal judgmental reaction of this person, and their outlook of others in life, I thought in my judgment how was I really being any better? I was being the same in my judgment, not of the actions but of the person! I had immediately labeled them a SNOB! I was just as prideful in that moment as they were in their poor choice thoughts on others.
How many times have we viewed and judged another only to skew our view of the person they are. How many of us walk around thinking that this person or that person doesn’t have the problems I have and that what they’re complaining about has no merit compared to MY circumstances.
What do we do when the NEW person visits our church and we instantly survey them from head to toe to see exactly how they fit into our range of “acceptable”, all the while having our “christian” (yes lower-case on purpose) face on? And if after your “analysis” you came back with a “unacceptable” what if you heard something about a trial in their life would you sincerely pray for them? Or would you say a quick “God bless you” or even worse exclude them from your prayer list completely.
I thought to myself later on that day, remembering back to the group discussion, and felt a taping of “Judge not lest you yourself be judged by the same measure of judgment”. I felt our Father very lovingly place on my heart “My child you cannot know the hearts of others nor their experiences to know what makes them the person they are or why they are on the path that they are on. Only I know the heart of a man and it is for me to judge but you are commanded to LOVE. Not loving the actions or choices, but loving the child of Mine that they are just as I Myself love you.” So after my conviction, and then quick repentance He then put into my heart the above scripture and how those that may in fact have “much” will often lose sight of the TRUEST of treasures, the treasure of our relationship with our Lord and each other.
At the end of the day those who spend their lives rushing about to have more success, more possessions, more fame and glory here on earth oftentimes do so to the detriment of lost relationships and precious moments. How often is it at the loss of a greater treasure awaiting them from above? We hear it and see it all the time, people at the end of this road with not a sincere person around them to be seen. In that loneliness, and if they are honest with themselves, would trade it all for a loving touch from someone who REALLY and SINCERELY cared. Instead many times they look around to see no one, not even those that were around in the high moments to bask in their riches by being “yes-men”. The fool says to himself “I need no one” but we all eventually, in this life or the next, find out just how much those words will prove to be false. Take this sad tale of one who found out too late…
19 Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
27 “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. 28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’” – Luke 16:19-31 NLT
Wow… It should give us all pause to stop and re-think our ideas of “having it all”. In the love we are commanded, and through His Spirit are ingrained with, it is stories like this that place a great desire in me to pray reverently for the “Rich Man”, as I myself would desire someone to be praying for me if my mind was sooooo clouded. I mean we REALLY need to re-think how we pray for others and who gets to make that list! I urge you and myself to remember that our Enemy is alive and well and wants nothing more than to cloud our minds over with indifference, animosity and hatred for each other and for God. He desires that we turn our backs on love and especially loving the “unlovable”, those that have lost their way or those that never found the path to begin with. I was reminded of this by our loving Father and our calling to love one another to wholeness and a new life in Him. May we forever remember this in our hearts, minds AND prayer lists.
Be Forever Blessed,