I used to think that rich all people were going to Hell.
I’ve since repented of my ignorance. I’ve come to realize that it’s just most of them that will burn.
When Jesus says that it’s “harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven” he wasn’t lying. Jesus is telling us that it’s really, really hard to have riches and still possess the desire to truly follow him.
He was telling us that our riches are a type of spiritual handicap that strangles and consumes. Just ask Francis Chan who literally ran away from millions of dollars because he valued his soul so much.
From my subjective stand point I have never seen the accrual of massive amounts of wealth pan out for an individual as they dreamt it would. I have heard stories of massive inheritances that have literally destroyed families; severing the most meaningful of ties. Stories of people who have “hit it big” and have become hollow shells of their former selves; falling prey to various vices that have riddled their souls with holes.
We’ve all seen celebrities become metaphors for distain and disgust being hated by the masses like some odd form of pornographic royalty, begging for attention and relevance, burning themselves out; their names becoming as curse words in our vernacular.
Just ask Billy Ray Cyrus.
Is it possible to balance status, power, wealth, fame and influence? I guess it’s possible, but not probable. The odds are not in your favor.
If you knew that you could have your wildest dreams but you had to give up your soul, would you make that trade? Let’s make this real: what if you could have all of the status, the fame and the fortune but you had to sacrifice your family on that altar; would set that fire ablaze? Would you sacrifice your marriage for that plastic, bleach blonde 20 year old groupie waiting for you in the hotel bar while you are seven states from home touring for your new album?
The worst thing that could happen to you is not that you would toil in this world and die relatively young, unknown and forgotten.
We’ve all been conditioned to believe that everything would be so much better if we could just attain riches, to be a celebrity, to be adored by the masses, to hear our names chanted by thousands and tens of thousands. We’ve been sold the lies that opulent lifestyles bring fulfillment and happiness.
The worst thing that could happen to you is that you would receive so much of this world that you would lose your soul. That may mean that you go to Hell, but make no mistake about it, losing your soul there means losing it here. You’ll feel it as you lose those closest to you. You’ll feel it as your perceptions of reality shift and warp. In the end you will be begging for a friend. You’ve be searching for somebody who loves you not for the money, or the ability to name drop, or their desire to climb the social/political ladder but because of who you are.
I would be willing to wager that you would jump at the opportunity to trade it all away; to go back in time and invest in legacy, integrity and identity and authentic relationships.
Those have lasting value.