How Rich Is Too Rich?

hummer H2
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tony_axelrod/2814312054/">Anatoli Axelrod</a>

Mark 10:23-27

Looking around to his students, Jesus said, “It will be awfully hard for rich folk to get to the goal.” And this puzzled his students, so he tried again, saying, “Kids, getting to the goal is hard! It’s easier to drive a Hummer through a pinhole that for rich folk to make it to the goal.”

At this they were even more stupefied, and they asked each other, “Will anyone make it?”

And Jesus, looking them over again, said, “For humans it’s impossible. But God can do anything.”

While Jesus admits that it’s possible for the rich to live well, he’s fairly explicit about the difficulty involved. It’ll take a miracle.

But how rich? Where is the cut-off? Isn’t wealth relative? If I’m not Bill Gates, I’m not really rich. But compared to a mother of 8 working in a sweatshop in Taiwan, I am.

I’m guessing the line gets drawn wherever wealth begins to cut you off from caring about and doing for people outside the circle of people who can afford to care about the things you care about. And not just doing for in order to satisfy some minimum qualification for salvation. Not doing for in a patronizing way. Not just a handout.

You’ll know you’ve hit the line when you find yourself making excuses to yourself about why you couldn’t help someone when you know that you could have. You just didn’t want to because it would cost too much.

Harsh.

But Jesus never said it would be easy. It might even take a miracle.