“Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s Kingdom?”
Jesus’s words in Mark 10:23 ring a loud conviction to anyone who might listen. I feel this speaks so clearly to most Americans, and the American dream mentality, though I am truly grateful for these comforts. And yet, it can be a true hindrance to those around us actually hearing the message we preach. So much of the scripture attests to God trying to help humanity see their need for Him. But what humans think they “need” is usually much different than what God KNOWS we need.
Throughout the Old Testament (the old covenant), God showed the people their need for Him by allowing them to stumble, and then picking them up, dusting them off, and re-stating what He had already instructed they would need to do to have success. Sound familiar?
It feels to me very much like what a parent has to do for a child several times, even in one day! Thus the references to the Israelites as rebellious children, lost lambs, straying sheep, make so much sense! But what children have that we very often miss, is a true, blind trust of the one who loves them. Because of their need and natural dependency on the one who cares for them, there is a particular naivety involved in a child’s view of the world. This is, from my reading of the Scripture, exactly what is desired and protected by Jesus. It is why He says, “….for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The opposite would seem to be true of the “rich.” Rich, referring to a mindset as much as, or more than, a house full of expensive treasure. In the mind of the one who “has it all” there is no need for dependence on any other person, no need to trust outside of himself. God tried to help the Israelites understand that when they trusted in themselves, they would ultimately fail. (So many battles were lost as the Israelites did not consult God. Saul, in 1 Chronicles 10, “did not seek guidance from the Lord,” so the kingdom was taken from him. The Gibeonites deceived the people, Josh 9:14: “they did not ask counsel from the Lord.”) But if He was their resource, their Warrior, their shield, their Treasure, their King……the blessings would follow them throughout the generations. (See Joshua 23-24)
In Mark 10, Jesus addressed the “I’m just fine” mentality. The same type mindset that He addressed in Mark 2, Luke 5, and Matthew 9 when He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” The ones who know their need for a physician, seek to find the Healer. Those who know they will face a Judge and have blame, who are unable to be innocent before Him, know they need a Redeemer. Those who have hit rock bottom in life and cannot save themselves, know they need a Savior. A Rescue, a Rock to stand on. Those who are vulnerable to this world, its sin, its dangers, its encumbrance, know they need a Prince of Peace. And those who have ever needed a defense, know they need a Shield, a Fortress, a Mighty Warrior.
Until a person realizes the need, or is willing to hear the still, small voice that calls a heart to the Only true Satisfaction….It is impossible for him to find salvation. But as Jesus says in Mark 10:27, “With man this is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Thank you, God for Your indescribable gift!!