Conversation Corner
God In Our Midst (Is It O.K. to Be Rich?--October 2003)

Is it O.K. to be rich?


Date: 9/27/2003 2:28:52 AM
Name or Pseudonym: Oscar
Subject: Eye of the needle

It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a wealthy man to enter into Heaven, according to the Gospels.

[Monitor: The theory outlined below has been discredited for many years. Students of Scripture and theologians no longer hold to this explanation. One is, of course, entitled to disagree with such experts.]

This is one of those passages that one must be careful about, for on the surface the answer to the question, "is it OK to be rich" would appear to be "no" based on the refereenced scripture - afterall, it’s impossible for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle.

But "the eye of the needle" actually refers to a night-time entrance into the fortified cities in Christ’s time. At night, after the city gates had been closed, no one was allowed to enter into the city from outside, except for important guests or caravans. But even they did not have an easy time of it because "the eye" was only large enough for a camel, when completely stripped of its baggage.

Here Our Lord was explaining that we will not be able to enter heaven if we are worldly. He did not mean that people must be poor. His friend Lazarus was actually a wealthy man. So, it’s OK to be rich, provided that the wealthy person does not commit the sin of avarice.

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