Sunday, September 17, 2023

Would you rather fly Economy Class or Business Class?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Some years ago I was speaking at a conference in Delhi, India and thankfully there were other speakers who were utterly riveting to listen to and absorb what they were saying. One such was a Canadian and he related a time when he was going to travel by plane when the check-in staff wondered whether he wanted to be upgraded. One of his joys in travelling is speaking with fellow passengers and he wondered whether that would be possible if he were upgraded. However, he was persuaded and duly went into Business Class rather than Economy Class and so could look forward to a much more comfortable journey.

As he went to sit down in the plane he introduced himself to a business women nearby with the words,  “I have been upgraded and it is only for one reason.” She politely enquired what that reason was and he said, “To talk to you about the Lord.”  I am sure she had never encountered such a direct approach before and it made her somewhat irritable and even angry. Her anger was directed firstly at the fact that he had been upgraded whereas she had paid the full amount for the privilege of travelling Business Class and secondly that he now wanted to engage her in a conversation about the Lord!

She spoke rather firmly, even irritably that she was not interested in anything to do with church, religion, the Bible, God or Jesus. This did not seem to disturb the man in the least and he was not put off at all because he then said, “Well the Bible is right about one thing.” She responded by enquiring what that was and he said, “As you have just said you were not interested in the Bible I won’t tell you.” This, of course, made her more irritated, intrigued and she said through gritted teeth that he must tell her. His answer was that the Bible says that it is impossible for the rich to enter heaven.  

I am absolutely sure that by now this lady’s day had distinctly changed, being badly disturbed. She had been, undoubtedly, looking forward to a peaceful, even restful flight when this man seemed to be intruding on her thoughts and disturbing her calmness.She then insisted that the Bible said no such thing, that it does not say it is impossible for the rich to enter heaven. The gentleman concerned then quoted from the words of Jesus in the New Testament, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10.25). Very evidently Jesus was saying that it is as impossible for the rich to get into the kingdom of God as it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. I have not any idea how the rest of that conversation on the plane developed, but what did Jesus mean by those words?

Some have tried to explain it away by saying that in olden days when towns were surrounded by walls the gates were closed at nightfall and not opened again till dawn and so late arrivals could not enter the city. Yet there was a way and that was a door within the gate which could be opened and the traveller with his camel might be allowed in. It would mean that the camel would have to be unloaded and go on its knees and somehow get through the much smaller opening. It reminds us that if we are to enter the kingdom of God we must get rid of our load of sin and come to Jesus in humility.

Nice as the story may be the disciples when they heard Jesus did not think of a door in a gate but saw the whole thing as an impossibility and so Jesus went on to say, “With people it is impossible but not with God”. Anyone who decides to make material things and wealth of secondary importance and turn to Christ in complete faith can be saved from sin and enter the kingdom of God. That is the message of of the gospel! What a blessing and it is worth thinking about.

Written by Paul Young for Messages with Meaning (03/04/21)/Your542Day 


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