A Deadly Compromise

August 29, 2021

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:23-24).

My mother was a spiritually wise woman. I remember an incident in my childhood when I was having a problem doing what the Bible said I should do as a Christian and doing what I wanted to do as a member of my peer group. I asked mom. She could have said the popular, “Well, if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?” No. Her answer was more spiritually profound than that. She said, “Son, you cannot live your life with one hand holding on to Jesus and your other hand holding on to your friends. You must decide whose hand you will hold on to in life.”

Compromise. It refers to a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands. Most conservative politicos idolize Ronald Reagan as one of the great presidents of the last 50 years. Norman J. Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, believes that to be true because President Reagan was a master of the art of compromise. While compromise may be admirable in a politician, win him votes, pump up his poll numbers, grease the rails in Congress to push his agenda through, etc., it is unacceptable in the Kingdom of God. The rich young man proves this. Lot’s wife proves this (Genesis 19:1-26), as does Judas Iscariot. No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). You cannot be a follower of Jesus with one hand holding on to Him and the other holding on to the world.

In the context of the rich young man, the word ‘hard’ is best be translated ‘impossible’. To emphasize this, Jesus used the illustration of the camel and the eye of the needle. Multiple opinions have been proposed as to what the ‘eye of the needle’ was, but the context indicates whatever it was, it would be impossible for a camel to go through it. Why? The Apostle Paul wrote (1 Timothy 6:9-10), But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The Bible doesn’t teach that the wealthy will never enter the Kingdom of God. Wealth is not always a trap for the soul, but all too often it is. Those who want anything more than Jesus forfeit Jesus. Our treasures should not be found on earth, but in heaven (Matthew 6:21).

“Lord Jesus, we live in a nation that affords us many physical resources that satisfy us and make us comfortable. We come to enjoy them, even depend on them. Remind me, Lord, that such things are useful to the Kingdom of God when I surrender them to You and Your service. Never let me glory in what I have, but in Who has me. To Your honor and praise I pray, Amen.”


Share this with your friends