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Do Rich People go to Heaven?
Witnessing Tools
Thursday, May 22, 2014
J.L. Robb

I am amazed daily at how many people know who will and will not make it to heaven. Not to be cynical, but how do they know that? I thought Jesus said that God would judge our hearts, and we really can’t see someone’s heart unless we are around them a lot. Over time, you begin to note the charitable contributions or the volunteerism or kindness and lack of gossip; you get to know them personally.

Fortunately for me, I made the decision a long time ago to avoid the temptation of money by just not making much! Lead me not into temptation…

Job was described as the wealthiest man in the world at the time he was alive. What he lacked in gold and Google stock, he had in animals, food and land. Instead of a big flatscreen TV, he had a big and loving family. Unfortunately for Job, he became the victim in a battle between God and Satan. It wasn’t pretty for Job, a very good man who loved and revered the God of Adam and Eve; pre-Abraham. Job is believed by many in the know to be the oldest book of the Bible, and other scholars think Job never existed. I’m not sure why they think someone would write a fictional tale way back then since it was such a pain to write, especially in hieroglyphics or some other ancient language. Did Job go to heaven; and if so, when? What was his heart like?

King David, Israel’s second King, established a great country and strong military for his God, the God of Abraham and Isaac, not Abraham and Ismael. He loved God like Job loved God. He is described in the Bible as a “man after God’s own heart.” David was just a man though and succumbed to what so many men do- a beautiful woman; and I have a feeling Bathsheba knew exactly what she was doing. God’s discipline was harsh, and David got back on track; and God blessed him. So did King David go to heaven; and if so, when? What was his heart like?

How about Solomon? The son of King David, Solomon was granted his wealth directly by God. He prayed for wisdom instead of wealth, and God gave him both. He built The Temple of God in Jerusalem (the first Temple), a temple that now remains as a wall… the Wailing Wall. The Wailing Wall will be the foundation of the Third Temple, soon to be built. That will cause WW III if it hasn’t already happened by then, in my opinion. Solomon ended up being a bad boy for sure, setting up temples to other gods, marrying hundreds of women and plating his horse stables in gold. So did Solomon go to heaven; and if so, when?

King David and King Solomon succumbed to the temptations that come with power, money and fame. Most rulers do if you check world history. Job did not succumb, did not give in and maintained his faith while living through his own personal hell on Earth.

Jesus had a good bit to say about money and the hazards that often come with it. Often is the keyword, because some people handle monetary wealth differently than others. He spoke of the temptations that come along with financial wealth, saying it was easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven. And that would be the case were it not for Jesus, who sacrificed himself for us so we would all have a chance.

One of Jesus’ prime examples of how God feels about monetary wealth is described in the brief story below from the Book of Mark: 

 The Rich and the Kingdom of God

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” ~Mark 10: 17-31 NIV

That content from Mark is remarkable (had to do that) because of all the important information it portends.

Jesus never said rich people couldn’t make it to heaven and could have probably said it was harder for a poor person to get to heaven than it is for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle, evident in verse 27 above:

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Jesus did referred to man as an entire entity. No one will make it to God’s Kingdom without God’s great forgiveness.

Last week I saw an article on a Christian website with the headline: Can you be gay and be Christian?

The article was interesting, but the reader comments were typical with mostly “no-ways.” No way could a gay person be a Christian. I suppose that would mean that no way could an adulterer be a Christian, or no way could a liar be a Christian, or a gossip; or anyone who sins.

If a person acknowledges to God through prayer that they recognize their weaknesses (and sex is a major one) and flaws and are trying to change, are they forgiven?

I have yet to meet a flawless Christian, and I am a prime example of flawed but trying. If someone believes that Christ is really the Christ and accepted His free gift of salvation, he is a Christian no matter how many flaws. His heart is in the right place, and Jesus said only one sin is unforgiveable.

So back to the topic at hand. Rich people.

I’ve met a few rich people in my life and many who have considerable wealth. As a kid, rich meant millionaire; now as a senior citizen, rich means billionaire. Of my friends who have no financial issues or worries, they are quite generous to the less fortunate. They don’t necessarily support large foundations but help the little person, maybe someone who has lost a loved one and is having a hard time coping. Maybe they help someone who’s just lost everything in a fire. They have a good heart, from what I can see.

As Jesus hung on the cross, large iron nails hammered through his hands and feet, He asked for water and the Roman soldiers gave Him vinegar. I bet that helped with the thirst. Soldiers below gambled for his clothing, which wasn’t much… no bling or silk shirts. They laughed and mocked; and the Jews that didn’t recognize who He was, rejoiced. As He hung there in the hot sun, beaten, bruised, wounded and bleeding to death at the hands of Roman soldiers and the complicity of Judah and her jealous rabbis, what did He say? What did He ask God to do?

Jesus is talking:

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. ~Luke 23:34 NIV

Who was them? Who was He asking God to forgive? He was asking God to forgive the Jews who just had Him tortured and executed, people that absolutely did not believe He was the Messiah. They did not have Jesus. Just the same, He knows the hearts and not just the actions and reactions.

Them also referred to the Roman soldiers who were doing the actual killing, soldiers who were atheists. Jesus asked for forgiveness nonetheless.

Some of the largest churches in Atlanta where the members drive Mercedes and BMWs and Maseratis, give millions to help the poor and the needy and the less fortunate and often volunteer hours and hours to help.

Jesus didn’t tell others to sell everything they have and give it to the poor. He told the rich man, a man he loved according to scripture. The man’s wealth was just too much to give up. He claimed to be sinless, yet having no wealth was too much to bear.

The point today would be the same. If a rich man today wanted to make it to heaven, Jesus might ask him to sell the Ferraris, the beach houses, the yacht and the race horses, give the money to the poor and follow Him. That’s where the men are separated from the boys. That’s where God sees what is most important to man… loving one’s self or loving our brothers and sisters in need. We are all part of the same family tree.

It’s not the gold that kills you, it’s what’s in the heart. I personally am glad Jesus is so forgiving, and we all might be surprised who makes it and who doesn’t if we only knew. I am sure the wealthy will not be excluded.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

About J.L. Robb

Last week: The Girls of Boko Haram



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