Monday, February 5, 2007

American Wealth - Is it right?

I am constantly plagued by this question. Is it right to live like we do as Americans? I have never felt comfortable with the idea of living in so much wealth when there is so much need in the world. Jesus' words in the Book of Matthew haunt me:

"I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I'll say it again - it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!" - Matthew 19:23, 24

A favorite Bible Commentary about this passage reads:

"Commentators and preachers invariably inject here that it is perfectly all right for Christians to be rich. It is strange that they use a passage in which the Lord denounces wealth as a hindrance to man's eternal welfare, to justify the accumulation of earthly treasures! And it is difficult to see how a Christian can cling to riches in view of the appalling need everywhere, the imminence of Christ's Return, and the Lord's clear prohibition against laying up treasures on earth. Hoarded wealth condemns us as not loving our neighbors as ourselves." -William MacDonald

"While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. "I tell you the truth," Jesus said, "this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has." - Luke 21:1-4

Jesus' words say enough. - RB