One of the Bloggers I follow wrote a brief summary of how difficult it would be for the rich to get into heaven. In her post Playing On A Word Needle. This gave me the idea to write about this very idea myself. So before we get into this I just want to give a Thank you to Katherine from if happiness can last forever
The Idea is found in a Story from Luke chapter 18:18-25
18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit aeternal life?
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is agood, save one, that is, God.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the apoor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
It has been said in the scriptures that it is easier for a man to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven. What does this statement mean in reality. Does it mean that if you are rich you cannot get to heaven? Is being rich a sin? Is everyone required to be poor? What if everyone were rich would we all be condemned to hell for the sin of having lots of money? I have come to believe that this scripture is highly misunderstood.
Frankly D Richards gave a wonderful talk on this subject in the april 1971 General Conference. I quote from this talk.
” quoting from President Young: “When this people are prepared to properly use the riches of this world for the building up of the Kingdom of God, He is ready and willing to bestow them upon us. I like to see men get rich by their industry, prudence, management and economy, and then devote it to the building up of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.”
This, then, is held to be the duty of the man of wealth: First, to set an example of modesty, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and after doing so to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community—the man of wealth thus becoming the mere trustee and agent for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.”
When we read the full context behind this scripture and the conversation Christ had before making the statement “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” The rich man who had lived the gospel to the best of his ability was unwilling to part with his riches and give to the poor. It was in this that his sin was manifest. His selfishness and greed, unwilling to share his wealth was what made it easier “for a camel to go through a needle’s eye” than for him to go to heaven.
The riches of this world are here to bless us. There is nothing inherently wrong with riches in and of themselves. I believe that the Lord wants us to be rich and to enjoy all the wealth that is here for us so that we may live comfortable lives. The Problem with many of the worlds rich is not that they are rich, It’s that they are selfish and greedy and unwilling to share their wealth with others who are less fortunate. Alma chapter 31:27-28 describes modern-day millionaires quite well I think, at least many of them.
27 Behold, O God, they acry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths, while they are bpuffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the cworld.
28 Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their abracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish.
It is this kind of Rich man who cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. For a rich man as has been described a camel will enter the eye of a needle before he gets to heaven. The problem with the rich man getting to heaven is not that he is rich but that he is prideful, greedy and unwilling to impart of his wealth to those less fortunate.
If we seek wealth for the sake of benefitting others we are doing so in the right spirit and God will bless us accordingly. If we “aseek first the bkingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (3rd Nephi 13:33)
If we will seek to bless others and impart of our substance to the poor then we will be rich and not just in the ways of the world. We will be rich in the ways of God and be blessed with riches beyond our wildest dreams in the eternities to come.
I know that I could probably be better at this than I am now. But I can say of a surety that If you are reading this Blog you are rich. I remember that I had always been told that we are blessed to live in this beautiful Country. I did not understand that till I visited the Caribbean last year and saw on such a mild way, the way people live in some of the poorer countries of the world. We are blessed and are rich in our standard of living which is so much higher than so many in this world. We live a life of luxury compared to half the world. We have homes built with solid walls and not just sheets of metal or plywood. We have so many luxuries such as Internet and tv, phones, cars, jobs and generally health and well-being. My daughter was praying the other night in her prayer she was thankful for running water and said thanks for every tap in the house. Do we realize just how lucky we are, just how rich we are and do we use our luxury to bless others?
It is the blessing of others that we must seek to have riches for. We must remember that in many ways we are rich and that if we fail to bless others with our excess that is what will make it difficult to get to heaven.
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