The story of “The Rich Young Ruler” is one of the best-known parables told by Christ (Luke 18:18-23). For years, scholars and laypeople alike have debated its meaning and application. What are the implications for a 21st-century audience? Should we all sell everything we have, give to the poor, and follow Jesus? Perhaps, but at the risk of executing somewhat of a bait and switch, such will not be the topic of this post. Instead, I want to focus on the lesser discussed conversation Jesus had next with his followers.
In that conversation, Jesus stated it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it was for a rich man to enter Heaven (Luke 18:24-27). In other words, it was virtually impossible. Why did He say this, and what implications does it have for those of us who are incredibly wealthy by historical standards?