August 16, 2017
Philippians 3:8 - Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
Jesus once said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mark 10:25). With those words He painted an indelible, unforgettable mental picture: a humorous snapshot of a needle and a camel trying to squeeze through that impossibly miniscule opening.
The Bible shares the disciples' reaction.
It says, "They were exceedingly astonished, and said to Him, 'Then who can be saved?'" (Mark 10:26). For a moment, just for a moment, the disciples panicked at the idea they might not make it into heaven. Then, Peter came to the rescue and reassured his fellow followers by saying something like, "Hey, fellows not to worry. We're not rich. We've left everything we had to follow Jesus. That has to count for something!" If you had been there that day you might have heard an audible sigh of relief, as the others agreed: "Hey, yeah, that's right. We're not rich. We'll make the cut into Christ's kingdom." (See Mark 10:28-30).
It's quite possible you have a similar thought.
Right now, you may be saying to yourself, "I'm not rich. I'm no multi-multi-millionaire." On one level that is true. You may not have all the stuff that the super-rich have. Still, without much fear of contradiction, I can say most of us are rich. Let's think about your situation for a moment.
Do you have air-conditioning in your home? The richest person of Jesus' day sweltered and sweat. Do you have electric lights? No Caesar who ever ruled the vast Roman Empire ever had electricity or penicillin or anesthetic before surgery. The richest of the rich couldn't boast corrective eyeglasses or a telephone or a ballpoint pen. The most affluent never tasted corn on the cob or turkey or cranberries or tomatoes or peanut butter or pineapple or, and this is the big one: chocolate.
According to Jesus, our wealth and our mixed-up priorities mean we have more stuff to struggle for, to strive for, more stuff to divert our attention away from God and His will. Our different priorities, different goals, different wants, different desires make our getting into heaven as likely as a camel going through the eye of a very small needle.
Which is why we need a Savior. Twenty centuries ago, the Lord sent His Son into this world to seek and save lost sinners.
It was a gracious, godly act. From the moment Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He dedicated Himself to redeeming us from Satan, our sin, and ourselves. Selflessly, unstintingly, Jesus did all that was necessary to do His Father's will. When people lied about Him, He continued to love them and speak the truth. When they rejected Him, He didn't quit. On the contrary, He kept going. Yet, even as He hung dying on Calvary's cross, He still managed to show His concern for His mother, for a thief, for the people whose hatred had put Him there, for the ones who had swung hammer on nail.
To have such a Savior makes everything else seem unimportant. To believe in such a Savior is to be wealthy, indeed.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for earthly blessings we give thanks. For our Savior, we rejoice and are filled with the joy of having spiritual riches which cannot be bought with money. Keep us always in that joy. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries