Rich and Poor

Matthew 19:23-30
Exodus 16:22-30

RCL Lectionary: Saturday before Proper 20, Year A

When Jesus is talking about how rich people cannot (basically) buy their way into Heaven, and he talks about it being the same difficulty as shoving a camel through the eye of a needle, I acknowledge that much of Westerndom (not just Christians) fall under this condemnation. Wealth and technology do not guarantee you happiness in this world. How could anyone think (logically or emotionally) that such would get one happiness in the next world?

In the “continuous” passage of the Old Testament, Exodus 16:2-30, the Israelites are learning that their food will be directly coming from God, and by His rules.

The juxtaposition of this is that the Israelites are rich, by the world’s standards. They have carried away the wealth of the Egyptian empire. Gold, jewels, dyed cloth (small to us, but huge wealth to them) are theirs in abundance. They are rich.

On the other hand, they are poor, as they have no food.

Rich and poor are always with us, but we cannot be so quick to judge who is poor or rich. King David, for example was rich, to the world’s standards (granted, not as rich as Solomon, David’s son), and he was even richer from God’s standards—a man after God’s own heart.

Solomon was hugely rich (Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and then some) by the world’s standards. However, we know that while he was greatly blessed by God with wisdom, he still was pretty poor by God’s standards, as he was not fully committed to God.

We can then look at many of the post-Davidic prophets, and hazard that they were not rich by worldly standards, but were hugely rich by God’s.

While David fell off the wagon, so to speak, he quickly got back on. I rarely select David as someone to analyze. I struggle with his bloodletting (which God did, too) and his unfaithfulness. Yet, perhaps one of the things we (I) need to rethink this, as he might provide the example that Western Christians need to balance their material wealth with their relationship with God.

I don’t really have any good answers on this, just for the record, or any great thoughts. This is just an opening as I was reading this morning.