Will Our Stuff Keep Us Out of Heaven?

Jason Micheli —  November 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

Jesus-Christ-With-Shopping-Bags-by-BanksyThis week we continue our sermon series based on Adam Hamilton’s book Enough.

The scripture on tap is Jesus’ response to the rich man who asks: What do I have to do to inherit eternal life?

Matthew refers to the man as ‘young,’ making him one of the few young people mentioned in the New Testament. Mark adds that Jesus ‘loved’ him, making him the only person in the Gospels that Jesus specifically loves.

Luke leaves out both those modifiers, telling us the man was an ‘archon,’ a powerful civic leader.

Jesus responds to the rich man with 4 imperatives:

Go

Sell

Give

Follow

The rich man grieves because he has lots of stuff.

And Jesus replies by observing it’s damn near impossible for rich people to get into heaven, as likely as jamming a fully-loaded camel through the eye of a needle.

Fun story, right?

The history of (mis)interpretation of this text is almost as funny as Jesus’ illustration, with scores of theologians and preachers and biblical scholars trying to wiggle any meaning other than the plain, obvious one Jesus intended.

We don’t want Jesus to mean what Jesus so clearly means.

Because we all love our stuff.

Perhaps more than we love Jesus.

Our stuff has a powerful hold over us, as late George Carlin brilliantly demonstrated:

Jason Micheli

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