Ministry Updates for Tuesday, May 12th, 2020
Scripture for Reflection – Matthew 19:24-26
“…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
Reflection – God’s People, Part I of II – The Rich and the Poor
Biblical quotes can get shortened and then taken out of context, distorting the meaning. The ‘eye of the needle’ is one such passage. Jesus tells his disciples it is impossible for the rich to get into heaven. They are ‘greatly astounded’ by such a thought. Why? Because it was common then, as it is now, to believe riches are blessings, and therefore the rich must be blessed.
Certainly, we find God’s chosen leaders in possession of great wealth. Job, Abraham and Sarah, Solomon and other ‘heroes’ of the Bible had it. On the other hand, Mary was poor, as were some of the prophets. Jesus himself had nowhere to lay his head at night (Matt 8:20).
In this passage, Jesus rejects not people, but rather prosperity theology, which is the idea that faithfulness to God will make you wealthy, an idea which does not stand up to scrutiny. Many people choose careers which pay less because they want to be pastors, social workers, teachers, civil servants, and politicians. And then there are volunteers, little league coaches, and Christian servants who work without any pay, save a hope for a better world.
Christians believe in something called stewardship, which means everything we have belongs to God. In that sense, we are all poor. Whatever is in our ‘possession’, is ours to manage, not own. It has been given to us by God, to be used to further his purposes. If it is a problem to be rich, a true Christian is safe from this potential condemnation, if they understand themselves to be a steward of God’s abundance.
If you are struggling financially, please understand that God is not failing to bless you. Yes, your struggle is real, but there will be blessing in it. God promises. Have faith. And to those who have been some degree of riches, I know you are giving and supporting in order to help food pantries, your church, and maybe even family or friends in any way you can. You are being stewards. Have faith also, that your actions matter in this time of crisis.
Lord, we pray for those who are struggling financially in this time. We pray for those who feel forsaken because of job loss or anxiety around finances. We give you thanks for the opportunities we have had through our church or through other organizations to support those in need through ministries like our local food pantry, D2D, UMCOR or our favorite charity. Help us all have faith not in our ability to get through tight spaces (like a needle’s eye), but rather that you have your loving eye on us especially when times are tight. Amen.