Hard For The Rich to Enter The Kingdom of God

The well-known Christian businessman of a decade ago, R.J. LeTourneau, used to say, “If you give because it pays, it won’t pay!” (Lou Nicholes - Missionary/Author).


As Jesus watched the young man leaving, He no doubt was sorrowful as He turned to His disciples and shared how hard it is for those who have put their trust in riches to enter the Kingdom of God (v. 23). The disciples were very surprised to hear this (v. 24). Popular Jewish morality was simple. It believed that prosperity was the sign of a good man. If a man was rich, God must have honored and blessed him. No wonder the disciples were surprised! They would have argued that the more prosperous a man was the more certain he was of entry into the Kingdom. But God saw things from the perspective of eternity; the first became last while the last became first (v. 25). Those who are first in their own eyes will be last in God’s eyes, but those who are last in their own eyes will be rewarded as first.

It is fatal when a man begins to think that everything worth having has a money price. Jesus would have said that the possession of material things is as follows (vv. 26-31):

  1. It is a test of character. For a hundred men who can stand adversity only one can stand prosperity. Prosperity can so very easily make a man arrogant, proud, self-satisfied, worldly. It takes a really big and good man to bear it worthily.
  2. It is a responsibility. A man will always be judged by two standards-how he got his possessions and how he uses them. The more he has, the greater the responsibility that rests upon him. Will he use what he has selfishly or generously?
  3. The Lord’s objective in the statement was to express human possibility. If a man’s interest is in material things he will tend to think in terms of price and not in terms of value. He will think in terms of what money can buy and forget that there are things money cannot buy.

The man who trusts in himself and his possessions can never be saved. On the other hand, if we sacrifice only to get a reward, that reward will never come.


If Jesus were to say to me, “One thing you lack,” to what would He point? What is it in my life that gets in the way of serving the Lord? What can I learn in this passage about the use of riches?

Mark 10:23-31 (English Standard Version)

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