God and Wealth

“And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.'”
– Mark 10:23-25 (English Standard Version)

“One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.”
– Acts 16:14 (ESV)

First, it is interesting that Lydia is mentioned by name in the Scripture where she most likely was not the only individual to be saved in by the apostles in that area. Where it is rendered “purple goods” in the ESV could refer to Lydia being a seller of either purple dye or purple cloth or silk. Purple was the color of royalty and the higher class in Roman society because of their rarity and the expensive means required to obtain it. Therefore, we could infer that she was a rich woman. She sold clothing to the rich people, probably made a bit of money from that, and lived quite comfortably. So it’s pretty much like that Louis Vuitton shop that I walked into recently.

Notice that the two phrases side by side that Lydia was a worshiper of God and a seller of purple goods. She held these two titles at the same time, both as a purveyor of purple goods to the wealthy and a humble worshiper of God. It’s amazing that she could tread that thin line between living for God as well as her business to serve the wealthy. It seems so easy for Lydia to have seen the big bright lights of the world and be attracted to it like a moth to the flame. I remember I thought I used to be strong enough around friends to see them drunk and stoned. I thought I was strong enough to resist it, but in reality I am just as depraved as them and often act contrary to a true worshiper.

Sure, it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, but with God, the impossible is possible. The reality is that it is not just hard for rich. It’s hard for the proud, it is hard for the haughty, it is hard for the selfish, it is hard for the licentious, it is hard for the liars, it is hard for the slanderous etc.