The verse in question is found in Matthew 9:24: “Again I tell you, 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.”
This is a fascinating verse in itself, but does it mean that if you’re rich you can’t get to heaven? Let’s look at the entire passage before we judge:
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.24 Again I tell you, 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.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
Should you sell all your possessions?
For some of you, the answer is yes.
The rich man couldn’t get past this one aspect of his life: his wealth. He put it above all else and walked away from Jesus that day.
The rich man’s wealth was his god. He had placed his wealth as the priority in his life and Jesus saw it, which is why he asked if he would give it up to follow him.
Put yourself in the shoes of the rich man. Ask yourself, “Would I give up EVERY penny I have to follow Jesus?” If you felt a twinge in your heart, then your wealth (whatever it may be) is hindering you and needs to go. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “…throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
So does that mean the rich can’t get into heaven?
The amount of money you have will not matter when it comes to getting into heaven. The point of the passage is our attitude toward wealth. God and His will should come first above all else. If we see an opportunity to feed the hungry or clothe the naked or bring someone to Christ, we should always be ready to jump at it and our wealth should never stand in the way. If money has found its way into our hearts, it’s time to get rid of it.
The key is to always remember whom we’re serving: God or earthly possessions. We can’t serve two masters.
What do you think about this passage?