The Eye of a Needle
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
There are certain chapters and verses in the bible that we remember, not sure why, maybe a word a phrase or a thought that resonates within us like a tuning fork vibrating for attention.
Money, and things it buys, including social position, power and, in the early church, indulgences is a recipe for self-immolation. As the Camel gets fatter the eye of the needle gets smaller.
I don’t know why I’m musing about this, truth be known I know lots of rich people, most of whom will never fit through the eye of that needle but some who will. Some of my rich friends are kind, generous and charitable. Their riches have not gone to their head and their relationship with God is probably a good one, at least in terms of their riches.
So why is Mark so universal in his condemnation of the rich?
I guess it’s because riches attract possessions, possessions attract comparisons and comparisons mean I’m better, smarter and richer than you. Hardly a recipe for moving through the eye of that divine camel.
So, let’s rewind this and look at riches another way. Let’s step away from the notion that money is the root of all evil to money being the consequence of God’s munificence and a rich man’s opportunity to be his enabler.
Think of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is being funded with billion-dollar donations from the Gates, Warren Buffett and others who magnify the word of God and ignore the temptations of man.
Today with so much emphasis on the infamous “one percenter” the super wealthy individuals basking in the shadow of Donald Trump’s largess at the expense of the other 99% we applaud the Gates, Buffets and others who demand more taxes for the wealthy.
This is not wealth redistribution; this is common sense. Warren Buffett who is worth $81 billion once famously compared his tax rate of 16% to his secretary paying a substantially higher rate.
Consider these individuals who make up a class of their own, the 1/10th percenter, grossing more than a $ billion per year.
This is not to say these men didn’t earn their place on the list, they are visionaries and brilliant financial strategists. That said, the question remains, if wealth is how we keep score in the game of life, I think we need new rules and better referees.
- Bezos-$205 billion
- Gates-116 billion
- Zuckerberg-111 billion
- Musk-95 billion
- Buffett-81 billion