It seems when we read the Bible that being rich may be a barrier to getting into Heaven. When Jesus counsels the rich young ruler in Mark 10, the man leaves unhappy because he is advised the only thing he lacks is to surrender all his belongings and follow Jesus.
As a hoarder, I can relate. A few months ago my wife and I had to move in with my mum, which was fine, except that my mom and I both collect things – on a big scale. For mom it’s model cats and houses. For me it’s a range of things. The result is chaos. Even I have to admit it.
My wife is a minimalist by comparison, and it’s been a source of stress for us.
I tend to be “ruled” by my desire to hold onto things. The rich young ruler had the same problem.
But Jesus wasn’t condemning him for being wealthy, rather the issue was for having that wealth as an idol separating him from God. In many ways I identify with him. One of the things I collected over the years are Bibles. The irony of a collection of Bibles getting between me and Christ is not lost on me. Many of the translations I use for personal study are not available online that I’ve found, so I have them handy in print in case I need them. They get in the way.
The disciples were incredulous when they thought Jesus said a rich man couldn’t enter Heaven. I’ve read around the topic a bit, and come to a conclusion. Jesus was actually trying to get the disciples to realize that a man who places his trust in earthly wealth alone will never enter Heaven. It came as a relief that my trust is not in the number of books I own, but the relationship with God through Jesus which allows me to enter into Eternal Life in spite of my collections rather than because of them.
Jesus didn’t condemn the wealthy for being wealthy. When Nicodemus came to Him, Jesus didn’t tell him to get rid of his belongings. Nicodemus’s search was sincere as to what he needed to do. The young ruler was trying to make a spectacle of himself and show that he was secure because he had money. As a leader, Nicodemus is unlikely to have been poor. The difference is in his heart’s attitude, and as a result the rich man, Nicodemus, learns how to enter the Kingdom as his trust is not in riches but God’s Grace and the New Covenant.
We need to hold onto that concept, and cross into Luke 11:
“So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you.For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened.What father among you, if his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent?Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”(Luke 11:9-13 Amplified)
“My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.
Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. Put away from you false and dishonest speech, and willful and contrary talk put far from you.Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil.”(Proverbs 4:20-27 Amplified)