Success in Life
Jesus said, "“Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. " (Matthew 19:23). That quote is often misused to mean that rich men can't enter heaven. Jesus meant that it was difficult, following it with "And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”vs. 24) Now, this was at odds with Judaic belief that riches are a gift of God, and the disciples ask, "Who then can be saved? Jesus replied," With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”This teaching of Jesus is almost as difficult to comprehend for people today, to whom riches are still believed to be gifts of God. Successful businesspeople even encourage that falsehood, using it to pull the teeth of the lower classes to keep them from rebelling against their forced "lot" in life.I am convinced that our view of wealth, like our view of most things, is formed by the lies of rich people, who determine what is written and disseminated as truth-- regarding history, science, philosophy and religion. It has been noted that history is written by the winners. True, but so is everything else.Business can be run honestly, just like farming cab be, but not as those run dishonestly. Quick wealth requires ruthlessness. Riches are not a, or the, reward, they are only won honestly by sweat and, often, tears.Back to my opening quote: "It is hard..." not impossible, but hard for anyone to enter heaven. And not because heaven must be earned, but because it requires us to depend, to rely on, someone else's will. In Paul's words, "Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:9)What, then of works (behavior)" Aren't we to live differently when we follow Jesus? How are we to behave? Paul goes on to say in the next verse, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."Even our good works, we must be willing to attribute to God. So, what constitutes the difficulty in getting to heaven? It is to abandon our pride in our ability to either be acceptable to God or to live for Him. That is why salvation is difficult.Our pride makes Jesus and Christianity easy to reject. It requires of us that we become, in effect and in reality, beggars before God--and before our fellow men. Who is willing to try to do as difficult a thing, illustrated by the vision of a camel going through the eye of a needle? Or admitting that we cannot?It is as difficult as denying ourselves and taking up His cross and following Him. It is being willing to lay down our lives--to die-- for a neighbor. Is success worth dying for? If not, we will never know it.