THE SERVANT GENERAL
ENTERING THE KINGDOM OF GOD
August 16, 2011
Today’s reading: Matthew 19:23-30
gives a startling teaching: “Amen, I say to
you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter
the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 19:23). This was
surprising to the disciples because wealth in the
Old Testament was a sign of God’s favor.
he presses the point further, “Again I say to
you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the
eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter
the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 19:24). Why is it
hard, or almost impossible, for the rich to make it
is a hard taskmaster. It demands all of one’s
allegiance. People want more and more money, people
commit great crimes to take money, people invest much
of their time, energy and talents to make money. Siblings
fight over inheritance, business competitors kill
rivals, civil servants sell the nation down the drain
by taking bribes.
we might say that we are none of those people. But
we must admit that most look to money as a very important
part of their lives. Now Jesus says we cannot serve
God and mammon, because they are both masters. We
will hate one and love the other. So if we love money,
then we hate God. If we hate God, then we cannot make
it to heaven.
we might say that we are not even materially rich,
and we know and follow Jesus. Well, such people can
also fall short, if they do not give to God what is
due to Him for the cause of the Kingdom. These are
those who do not tithe, that is, give to God 10% of
their income. God says through the prophet Malachi
that such people are accursed because they rob Him.
One who is accursed cannot make it to heaven.
Now you who are reading this, since you do not tithe
(does that mean you love money more than God?), may
be greatly astonished and say as the disciples said,
“Who then can be saved?” (Mt 19:25). Jesus
acknowledges the inherent weakness and sinfulness
of humanity, and points to God for salvation (Mt 19:26).
We cannot overcome greed and selfishness merely by
human power. We can only rely on the grace and strength
do we allow the grace and strength of God to make
salvation possible for us?
even as you are greatly astonished by Jesus’
teaching, do not ignore it. Do not shrug it off. Do
not justify your present situation (it is easy to
give all sorts of good excuses for serving mammon
or not giving a full tithe). Accept what Jesus says,
and ask for His wisdom and grace to understand and
live out what is right.
start giving. If you cannot give a full 10% (that
is the definition of a tithe), then just give some
amount, any amount. It will get you into the habit
of giving. Then, as you move along, perhaps as you
pray daily, the Lord will convict you as to the smallness
of what you are giving to Him. Then you can start
building up to the 10%, and beyond.
How about our needs? Well, the Lord can never be outdone
in generosity. Through Malachi, God challenges His
people to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse
and experience how He opens up the floodgates of blessings.
To Peter who said he and the disciples had given up
everything to follow Jesus (Mt 19:27), Jesus tells
them they will sit with him in glory at the end of
time (Mt 19:28). On a practical basis, Jesus also
says: “And everyone who has given up houses
or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children
or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred
times more” (Mt 19:29a).
of the floodgates! Receiving a hundred times more!
What a deal! We give up everything that is earthly
and human, we get back everything that is of God.
And as the biggest bonus, we “will inherit eternal
life.” (Mt 19:29b). It is hard or impossible
for the rich to enter heaven. It is the inheritance
of those who give up everything for Jesus to enter
The kingdom of God is full of seeming contradictions.
The “first will be last, and the last will be
first.” (Mt 19:30). The kingdom of God does
not function according to human wisdom. Those who
give actually receive. Those who keep less for themselves
will get more from God. The rich on earth will not
be rich in the kingdom. Those who give up wealth on
earth will receive bountiful blessings including eternal
life. What is impossible for man is possible with
serve God not mammon. Detach from materialism and
consumerism and embrace Kingdom economics. Be poor
in the things of the world but rich in the things
of heaven. Give up houses and receive the key to the
mansion reserved for you in heaven. Give up lands
and enter into the promised land. Give up relatives,
for the sake of Jesus, and follow him who is firstborn
among many brothers into heaven.