So… You Want to be Rich, eh? Okay…

In Mark’s Gospel, we find Jesus saying the following:

“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”

                                                                         Mark 10: 24-25

Why is it so hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God?

For those of us who do not have a personal money tree in our backyard, perhaps it will be helpful to understand the word ‘rich’ in this scripture as not only referring to money, but also as being rich or having an abundance ‘of smarts, etc.’

The ‘rich’ in intellect are those gifted ‘with smarts’ and who naturally or often through study, reflection and/or advanced education, can ‘understand and know’ things that many others simply can not.  Being smart and intelligent is a gift from God, just like being athletic or very attractive: there are smart rich, middle class and poor folks as there are also very intelligent youth, middle aged and older folks.  So… what makes it so hard for ‘the smart and intelligent,’ to enter God’s Kingdom?

Well, speaking from personal experience… It is soooooooo very easy for those of us with an intellect to overly respect and to trust in it, believing that we actually know something that we don’t!!!  I’ve had many occasions of this false knowing – that is, believing I know fully about x, whatever x is – instead of humbly acknowledging the limitations of my intelligence.  This is especially true today, when a good hour of ‘internet study’ can make almost anyone feel like they are a scholar!!! Yes, I am smart – but my smarts are limited to certain areas or disciplines, as are the intellectual gifts of all people. No one knows everything!!!

Simply stated, it is easy for the naturally intelligent and educated professional to think they can easily understand and grasp certain things, especially if they are of a spiritual nature – like the spiritual life and scripture – simply because of one’s intelligence and gifts!  By our pride, we ‘intelligent and educated people’ can actually out think ourselves very easily, often failing realize just how spiritual truths  actually become  known and confirmed in life: by simply obeying and  living them out and rarely if ever by  understanding them only.  After all, who does not understand the Ten Commandments?   Has any been saved by that understanding without obeying and living them out?  Can any be saved simply by understanding Jesus’ Laws of Love?  That kind of unhealthy pride in and of our intellectual gifts, can make us an easy prey for the evil one…

This unhealthy kind of intellectual pride is often vocalized starting with the following, “…well, I believe and think that…” or “…well, from my study (of the Bible), I found that…”, etc.. Then, after pontificating about what s/he spiritually believes or knows, it is easy to move on and to explain why, based on that reason and understanding, one is also excused from simply and obediently following some part of God’s Law.  It’s no wonder, that Judas was arguably the smartest of the Apostles and also that hell is probably populated with a lot of naturally smart people…

It is true: a keen and quick business intelligence plus hard work can and does often lead many to become financially ‘rich’ in America. For some of these smart and successful business people, the selfish and low hanging fruit of vices like, becoming a ka-billionaire and living lives of wanton pleasure, are willfully chosen.  These financially  empowered choices can rapidly  shape  one’s  character and person, from being a humble child of God into being  a very powerful mean, selfish and unholy person!!!  For these, who are ‘richly’ blessed but choose to disregard God’s invitation to work for the higher and selfless fruits of serving and loving others, they can find it easier to have that ‘Camel pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of God’ – despite being doubly rich, with both intelligence and money!!!

In Mark’s Gospel he continues, explaining how upon hearing this the Apostles,

“…were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,                      ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.                                                                  All things are possible for God.”

                                                                                                         Mark 10: 26-27

Today, I know many can quote and understand Jesus’ statement in Mk 10:24-5  literally and are not surprised by it at all, like the Apostles were upon originally hearing it. I wonder in my heart, how many now days can really understand and explore the true spiritual ‘richness’ of this verse, and in doing so, can also apply it  to the many different contexts that  make up their lives?

For instance, how many hardcore and conservative Catholics, who believe and have pride in our faith as the ‘fullness of the faith,’ truly understand that if this statement IS the truth, then how much more  will actually be required of us – as religiously and spiritually ‘rich’ Catholics?  It’s times like these, when I am especially grateful that “All things are possible for God.”

My prayer for all, is that as we grow to see and understand the varieties of ‘richness’ we are truly blessed with, that our willingness to love and  serve others will also grow…  In short, that the more we come to see and live out the richness gifted to us, the more we – by grace – will also become empowered to  give our rich gifts  away, especially to those who need them the most!

 

 

 

 

Author: P. J. West, Jr.

Paul J. West Jr. is a cradle Catholic and native Chicagoan who has ministered in Catholic Schools, parishes and hospitals for over two decades. His current ministries are focused on both hospital chaplaincy and writing. Prior to this, he ministered as an educator for almost twenty five years teaching religion, scripture, philosophy and ethics at four Chicago area high schools and adults at the Chicago Catholic Scripture School. His parish ministry has included preaching, teaching, writing and serving as a Eucharistic minister. Mr. West, who is native south sider, has been married for almost 30 years to Dr. Joy West. They have raised four beautiful daughters who are all hardcore Bears and White Sox fans!!!!

27 thoughts on “So… You Want to be Rich, eh? Okay…”

  1. I do like the manner in which you have presented this particular problem plus it does indeed present me personally a lot of fodder for consideration. Nonetheless, coming from just what I have experienced, I basically hope as the feed-back pack on that people keep on issue and don’t get started on a soap box of the news du jour. Anyway, thank you for this exceptional point and though I can not really concur with the idea in totality, I value your point of view.

  2. Good day I am so grateful I found your blog, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Digg for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a incredible post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the superb work.

  3. Hi there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to
    give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be
    tweeting this to my followers! Superb blog and superb design.

  4. Hello there! This article couldn’t be written much better!
    Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this article to him.

    Pretty sure he’s going to have a great read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Hello, for all time i used to check blog posts here early in the morning, because i love to find out more and
    more.

  6. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is
    rare to see a great blog like this one these days.

  7. It’s amazing to go to see this website and reading the views of all colleagues regarding this article, while
    I am also keen of getting know-how.

  8. I have been exploring for a little bit for any high quality articles or
    blog posts in this kind of house . Exploring in Yahoo
    I ultimately stumbled upon this site. Reading this info So i am satisfied to exhibit that
    I have a very excellent uncanny feeling I found out
    just what I needed. I so much indisputably will make certain to do not fail to remember this website and provides it a
    glance regularly.

  9. I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both
    educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail
    on the head. The issue is an issue that too few people are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy I found this in my hunt for something regarding this.

  10. You’re so interesting! I don’t think I have read a single thing like that before.
    So nice to discover somebody with a few unique thoughts on this subject.
    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that is needed on the internet, someone with
    a bit of originality!

  11. What you said was actually very reasonable.
    But, think about this, suppose you added a little content?
    I ain’t suggesting your content is not good., but what if you added
    a title that makes people want more? I mean So… You Want
    to be Rich, eh? Okay… – Strugglin'Catholic.com is a little vanilla.
    You ought to peek at Yahoo’s home page and see how they create article headlines to
    get people to click. You might try adding a video or
    a picture or two to grab people interested about what you’ve written. Just my opinion,
    it could bring your posts a little livelier.

  12. Excellent weblog right here! Additionally your website lots up very
    fast! What web host are you the use of? Can I get your associate hyperlink to your
    host? I want my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  13. Terrific work! This is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the web.
    Shame on the seek engines for no longer positioning this publish
    higher! Come on over and talk over with my web site
    . Thanks =)

  14. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put
    in writing this blog. I’m hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now
    😉

  15. I think this is one of the most significant information for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The site style is perfect,
    the articles is really excellent : D. Good job,
    cheers

  16. Hello fantastic website! Does running a blog similar to this take a large amount of work?
    I have absolutely no knowledge of coding but I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyhow, if you have any recommendations or
    tips for new blog owners please share. I know this is
    off subject but I just needed to ask. Appreciate it!

  17. Right here is the perfect blog for everyone who wishes
    to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually
    would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a subject
    which has been written about for ages. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.