Mark 10:25 (King James Version)
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
This is a verse that has troubled believers for centuries. In essence, it is telling us that it is impossible for the rich to find their way into heaven, a prospect that greatly discourages many.
We are taught from such an early age by the actions of our parents that this life requires success for happiness and that success often comes through the acquisition of wealth. Money gives us food. More money gives us food that we can enjoy more. It gives us comfort, peace of mind and joy in this life – gadgets, games, travel, entertainment – all of it circles around money.
It is also a source of temptation. Those who have nothing but God in their lives often have a harder life in this world but a better one in the next. The timing of this verse is extremely important as well. He was talking to a man that claimed to be keeping the commandments throughout his life. The man asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life.
Jesus answered, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
This vexed the man and the people listening, as they did not want to give everything they had in this world. Then, Jesus spoke the words in verse 25. This astonished even the disciples who wondered how any person could enter into heaven with such worldly expectations. This is where Jesus gave them and all of us the truth about the exact way in which he answered the question.
The point to the verse, given by His infinite wisdom, could only be immediately understood by His true followers as some had known very well what this meant first hand. And that is – wealth will become our primary focus when we strive only to obtain it, and thus our heart cannot be devoted to Him and wealth simultaneously. We cannot serve two masters. Yeshua in Matthew 6:24 says “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other, Ye cannot serve God and money.” Yeshua knew that wealth eventually becomes our master if we find it to be a main priority in our lives, because we become a slave to it. So, who then are we choosing to serve?
Is wealth evil? Not always. Because we see that it became useful as when Joseph of Arimethia was able to give his tomb to Yeshua, thus fulfilling prophecy. It is safe to say that Joseph was not an evil man because he had wealth. But what is different in the case of Joseph is that we see immediately his possessions were of less importance to him. He did not hesitate, unlike the man who asked Yeshua what he must do to inherit eternal life.
Typically once someone gains a lot of wealth, their daily lives become focused on maintaining that wealth and subsequently how to gain more. It is not always greed that drives our appetite towards wealth, but naturally the comfort we gain from it. But how many people who are wealthy are more concerned about their salvation rather than their assets?
The bottom line is that the temptation and trap that wealth brings is far greater in nearly every case than the desire to gain eternal life. Yeshua knew this, and so His teaching is not condemning wealth, but warning us of what it will almost always lead to.
Mark 10:28 (King James Version)
And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Here, we see the point of the verse. The man had asked, “what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
The answer is that there is nothing a man can do to inherit eternal life, it is impossible. Only through God from faith and following of his son Yeshua can a man enter into His kingdom.