There was no gate

James 5:1-6

Jesus said it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24). Scholars have noted that over the years people have tried to soften the blow of the Lord’s message. It’d be impossible for a real camel to pass through a needle. So, maybe there was a door called the eye of the needle that made it difficult but not impossible.

Have you heard a preacher use that explanation?

The problem is we are confident there was no door with such a name. So, there is no softening the point Jesus wanted to make.

You probably know scripture talks about money a lot. But not in the TV preacher kind of way. Those people will tell us we deserve to have more. That having more is even proof of God’s blessings. The camel is still trying to go through. The Bible repeatedly warns us of the dangers of riches. Not being rich, necessarily, but of what riches can do to us and our trust in God.

For example, Jesus’ brother had strong words toward the rich. It’s just as silly to try to soften what he said. What I gather is money and possessions, in and of themselves, aren’t the issue. Our problem is what we’re willing to do to get them. Sometimes, what we’re even willing not to do to get them. And keep them!

Note that James 4 calls back to an old promise of God.

James warns those who have gained riches by making or even allowing others to suffer. The cries of those laborers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts (James 5:4). That is familiar language to the one who has read the story of God’s covenant. God heard the cry of the Israelites and Pharaoh suffered as they walked to redemption (Exodus 3:9). God also heard Abel’s blood cry out from the ground against his brother Cain (Genesis 4:10).

God hears and sees the injustice we allow to happen today. And Jesus won’t allow us to justify our selfishness within it. We have to take Jesus and James at their word. That’s the only way we can free ourselves from the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10).

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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