Ole’ Jesus said one of the quickest ways to get rejected from heaven is by being rich. The text is pretty clear. Odds of a camel sashaying through a needle are better than an affluent CEO moseying through paradise.
This is one of the greatest hypocrisies in American life. If you ask any “God-fearing” American they’ll tell you about how much God favors our great nation. But so much about America is also the brass ring. We’re all about being the next Capitalist King.
It can’t be both. Sorry. If we want to be rich, fine. But if you’re a Christian fundamentalist, accepting the Bible literally, then you have to consider the consequences for lusting after the dollar.
I’ve read it before where some argue Jesus was a capitalist because he told the parable of the servants who were trusted with their master’s riches. When the master returned, he punished the one servant who didn’t invest and grow his money while he rewarded the two who did.
Nope. Not a capitalist endorsement. It’s a parable for using talents that God bestows on someone. (Notice how the parable didn’t include a servant who lost money when he tried to invest it.)
The more frightening facet of the camel comparison is determining exactly who is rich. How do we define that? Jesus didn’t craft his message around the federal poverty level.
Aren’t we rich? The vast majority of Americans go home every night in a warm house with a variety of meats in freezers, funds in their 401(k)s and nice, gas-powered vehicles to get to work every day. We can get just about any type of fresh food on demand no matter how good or bad the weather affects the crops. We actually spend money and effort to make sure we have different color shoes to match the rest of our clothes. Even the poorest in America can watch DVDs and get ahold of all types of entertainment.
Yet if someone isn’t in the “1 percent” they don’t consider themselves rich. Sorry again. We are rich. Jesus never expected his teachings to apply country by country. He preached to the world. Compared to other nations on this planet, America IS the 1 percent. The lowest of the low can still get food, water, shelter and even cell phones. Our poor have options.
In third world countries, the poor can’t run down to Wal-Mart and get ahold of some new shoes, an iPad or a fresh packet of USDA-inspected beef.
We are rich. If we believe in Christ as a savior, then we should all be worried.
So we either need to reconsider how literal we take Christ’s teachings or we need to shed our riches and start wearing rags.
Which is it?