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Did Jesus Really Say You Wont Get Into Heaven If Youre Rich?

On the matter of Jesus and money, there are three types of people in the world.

1. Some people don't know what Jesus said about money and they have no interest in finding out.

2. People who care so much that they make the words of Jesus about money the standard of their financial lives.

3. Then there are the people who have the words of Jesus about money in their minds, but wish they didn't.

If you want an example of the third type of person, consider the statement I overheard at a seminar about becoming a millionaire. As I was going back to my seat after a break, I passed by a man who was asking the speaker a question. He said: "How can you say it is good to be rich. Jesus said that a rich man can't get into Heaven."

My candidate for the Bible verse most likely to convince people that they have to choose between riches and salvation is the comment by Jesus about a rich man and the Kingdom of Heaven. Of all of the words of Jesus about money, this is the one that is most misinterpreted.

The story of the rich man occurs three times in the Bible. In each case, Jesus talked about a rich man and the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, Jesus did not say that a rich man can't get into Heaven. This means that the upset student at the seminar had misquoted the story. And by confusing the Kingdom of Heaven with Heaven, he had missed the real point of the story.

The Kingdom of Heaven concerns the economic reality of people alive on planet Earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is not the same as Heaven.

What is the best way to liberate people from such misunderstanding? The only way is to put the words of Jesus into context. What did the words mean in the context of the story? And what did the story mean in the context of the economic system?

If you don't put these words into context, you can spend a lifetime feeling guilty about wanting to have money. This seemed to be what happened to the man at the seminar. The first reason for his inner conflict was that he didn't even have the words right. He was stuck in the "Eye of the Needle" about money because he had missed the real point of the story.

Jesus told the story as part of his condemnation of an unjust economic system. He was not glorifying poverty. He did not say that the rich cannot get into Heaven.

©Kalinda Rose Stevenson, Ph.D.

What if most of what you believe about Jesus and money is not true? Don't let misinterpreted Bible stories block you from living an abundant life.

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