The rich man and the camel

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RALPH Waldo Emerson remarked that money often costs too much.
The Grimm Brothers wrote of a poor peasant and a rich man who die and arrive at the gates of heaven around the same time.
Heaven’s gatekeeper opens the door and the rich man swaggers in to great rejoicing from the angels while the poor peasant is left outside.
Then the poor man is allowed in and is received with affection but no great fanfare.
The peasant asks the gatekeeper why. And the gatekeeper replies: “Well, people like you come to heaven every day. A rich man does not turn up here more than once every 100 years or so.’’
If it really is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven, a few tele-evangelists may be in for a shock.
The prosperity gospel – the one that argues God wants his followers to be materially rich – is gaining some power in the western world.
Nothing creates more euphoria in the average person than a promise to make them wealthy.
Obviously, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with money. It is an instrument of commerce.
But our quest for too much of it can give us unrealistic perspectives. We may actually be far richer than we think.
If we eat out at a restaurant, we probably will spend more than the average monthly income in Nicaragua or India without thinking.
If we buy a soft drink and a Tattslotto ticket, we probably spend what is a day’s wages for many humans.
Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, argues that it may not be a sin to be rich “but it is a sin to die rich’’.
“This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy; there is a word for that. Baloney,’’ he was quoted as saying.
“I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn’t everyone in the church a millionaire?’’
Jesus said a fair bit about money. He amplified the old proverb about love of money, rather than money itself, being the root of all evil.
In the face of the ancient obsession with accumulating material things, Jesus pointed to a lily, or a sparrow, and calmly said, Trust. Seek first the kingdom of heaven.
He focused on the joy of giving, not on the promise of return.
He said we were foolish if we wanted to “lay up treasures’’ for ourselves and ignore God. It was not so much a condemnation of having money – his own band of disciples had a treasurer – but of not using it properly.
It was also about the deceitfulness of wealth and worldly prestige.

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13 thoughts on “The rich man and the camel

  1. Jesus had more to say about money than sex and yet it is sex that occupies more of the church’s mind!

    Having said that I find being challenged about money very difficult. It always touches a nerve somehow. I’m far more materially minded than I’d like to believe.

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    • Some people don’t like to part with money if they think it could be needed for friends and family who are suffering a ‘rainy day’.

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    • Read Malachi 3:8-10

      8 “Will a man rob God?
      Yet you have robbed Me!
      But you say,
      ‘In what way have we robbed You?’
      In tithes and offerings.
      9 You are cursed with a curse,
      For you have robbed Me,
      Even this whole nation.
      10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
      That there may be food in My house,
      And try Me now in this,”
      Says the Lord of hosts,
      “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
      And pour out for you such blessing
      That there will not be room enough to receive it.

      I actually tried this out. Within 3 months I lost my job. Only to get a better more secure one when things got really desperate financially.

      I continued trying this out as the promise tells us. Although my income reached a certain plateau that was way below what my colleagues were earning, God showed me how to budget in such a way that I had sufficient money for my needs and the needs of my family and still have enough funds for various charities. Probably the biggest lesson I learnt was to be content with what I had, instead of whingeing that I cannot keep up with the Joneses.

      And the joke is on the Joneses. Whilst they are becoming slaves to their jobs, always chasing the next thing they gotta have, I can sit back and relax enjoying the fruits of my labour.

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      • Tithing and other financial obligations were a simple form of taxation.
        Deuteronomy 16:
        16 Three times a year all your males must appear before the LORD your God in the place he chooses for the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Temporary Shelters; and they must not appear before him empty-handed.

        17 Every one of you must give as you are able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you.

        For many the income tax and welfare state are simply an extension of the idea of tithes. The Old Testament tithes function much like an income tax. Christians are supposed to give to help the poor. Put the two ideas together and the income tax/welfare state combination is simply the state enforcing part of morality, Christian or humanistic. There were laws too against prostitution or working on Sunday. Polygamy, still.

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      • Actually Strewth,

        The tithe was specifically used for supporting the priests (in the Old Testament) and clergy (in the New Testament).

        There were other additional offerings that were used for the support of the poor, independent from tithes.

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      • hehehehe… “Tithing and other financial obligations were a simple form of taxation”
        ….another therefore another reason to detest religion!

        Actually, I’d suggest that ‘taxation’ was created by Moses (on god’s instructions, of course!) to reward the Levites for supporting his dictatorship and slaughtering the non-conforming jews (thousands of them ~ see Exodus, and/or Numbers/Deuteronomy) can’t remember the exact references for the moment and don’t have the time to search them out.)

        They were declared priests, and no longer had to work for a living, build their own houses, etc.
        It’s all there.

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      • And taxation keeps politicians and public servants payed too. You’re right on the ball, Davinci!

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    • Ah, but valuable and hard to find things were traded the most, were used as ‘money’. Some items were traded all over Australia. Shells from the Cape York area may have travelled down trade routes of the east coast of Australia and then inland.

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      • They used to also trade with Muslims as well for centuries. They dealt with each other peacefully. It was not until others came with a sword that it all went terribly wrong.

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    • Yep.
      I think about:- ……No Rates, water,sewerage, rego., speeding fines, capital-gains tax, land-tax, income-tax, outgo-tax, exit tax to leave, tax on alcohol content, bank-fees and charges, interest rates, no inflationary pressures on tasty kangaroos, stamp-duty AND transfer-tax, etc.etc.etc.etc. etc….and so on

      Not to forget GST.

      Curses!! Why wasn’t my old man a blacklfella?!
      And some reckon it’s a ‘finely-tuned universe’! Ha!!
      God must hate me!

      ps. Got an email yesterday urging me to get in in a stock that had increased in price by 240% the previous day:- an umbrella company that will traded on behalf of marijuana growers across the US, where it’s about to be legalised.

      Seems they’ve finally realised they stop people using the stuff, so they’re going to control it…..at a price.

      Good thing it’s a Democracy with the people’s interests at heart ~ necessary so’s the dills will elect them again in four years.

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