Then said Jesus to his disciples, Truly I say to you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.…
The danger of the possession of wealth being admitted, let us now examine a few of the causes of this danger.
1. There is a fascination in the ownership of money, for it represents much of this world's power; there are few worldly things it cannot purchase. Besides, there is a satisfaction to the rich man in counting his money, in the quiet contemplation, the secret consciousness of the power which if he pleases he cam wield through it.
2. Money takes from man the feeling of dependence on God. Possessing it, he is apt to say to himself, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years" — why then should he trouble about possible future wants, when his income is so far above his expenditure? — and hence his state of mind is entirely opposed to the spirit in which we are taught to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." The possession of wealth is therefore destructive of humility, of dependence upon God.
3. Riches incline a man in all ways to lean upon the world, which provides him with too much in which he delights, to make this world his home, thus hindering him from looking up; for we cannot live by faith and sight any more than we can serve two masters.
4. The possession of wealth tempts a man to be self-indulgent; to a needless display of magnificence in himself and his surroundings. Through the pleasures his wealth creates he soon gets entangled, and the daily cross of a disciple of Christ is altogether kept out of sight; the soul's eye becomes darkened, the affairs of time seem to be the only reality, those of eternity a shadow, a dream about which the man who is happy need not trouble himself. But there are many who have the feeling that they are not rich, and cannot therefore be concerned in the danger which the possession of riches brings. This may be true in one sense, but then "riches" is a word having different meanings to different people. Again, many who have not money look upon its acquisition as the aim of life, and accept success in gaining it as the measure of happiness. Many suffer the danger of the rich, because their thoughts are all centred on becoming rich. Labour being the ordinance of God, we ought to be able to find in our work the path allotted to us by His will. We should love God, not self, the centre, the ultimate aim of our toil. But not one of us, left to himself, is capable of efficiently discharging the responsibilities entailed by the possession of wealth; we need to be sustained by God.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.