Eastern Orthodox/QUESTION NOT ANSWERED

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Question
Jesus said to His disciples: Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go th...rough the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

I am a rich man. What shall I do to enter heaven? Please help me!


PLEASE TELL ME WHAT TO DO.  GET TO THE POINT.  PLEASE DO NOT REFER OTHERS

Answer
You must not become attached to wealth; you must not let wealth take over your life. You must make available your wealth to others in need of food, drink, clothing, and housing. "So long as you did it to one of these the least of my brethren, you have done it to Me." (Mt. 25:40) Many gain wealth through the help of others, and some by simple chance. Holding on to that wealth while ignoring those desperately in need is to serve Mammon, as Christ has said: you cannot serve both God and Mammon (Mt. 6:24). To grip on to wealth is actually to hold on to part of the creation of the Divine since He is the source of all that exists, including the rubies, gold, diamonds, furs, wood, cement, velvet, and silk that the rich fancy-- as well as the food and wine that excite their palates. Christ in the passage you cite is telling us that what the rich man has is just as easily lost, and for this reason the rich man has placed his bets on what is passing, and what can be consumed by natural forces (Mt. 6:19). Betting this way shows an ignorance of how fleeting everything one has, as those who have lost all in wars and battles though rich they once were. James in his epistle (2:5) writes, "Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?" Obsession with wealth is to ignore Christ's admonition in Lk. 12:27-28, "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith." All in all, and in the end, to love Christ completely and be entered into eternal happiness one must have both poverty of body and spirit: one must freely acknowledge his bodily attributes are not his to abuse or lord over others or use to his own ends, and one's material riches should be freed to that poverty of spirit by which alone one acknowledges all is God's and that it must be surrendered to others in need to the extent that you who give it to others are able to also provide for yourself at the same time--as the Divine wishes you to. However, complete faith in Him is to free oneself of all dependence on riches and trust in Him to Whom everything the rich man currently has is actually not his at all, but is the possession of the God Who made all things. Only in this way, Christ is saying in the passage you cite, can one have hope that eternal life shall be his. Better to have nothing and Christ's love, than to have riches and have never given any of it to those in need. After all, "what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss his soul?" (Mk. 8:36). I think it is pretty clear what Christ is saying, and that it may be difficult to accept if one's fascination with riches has grown such as to be blind to what Christ wants him to see-- that everything must be given up for Him and in trust of Him. By that trust shall the rich man be provided for, as Christ says in Lk. 12:27-28.

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Chrysostomos Robert Geis

Expertise

I am academically and canonically qualified to answer all questions on ethics, ritual, and questions of philosophy as it regards Eastern Orthodoxy. I see that some questions answered here in the site on Eastern Orthodoxy are given a black and white tone. My approach is more [pastoral, which would acknowledge that the human situation does not always come in answers of black and white.

Experience

I am a Prelate Protosyncellus in the Eastern Church, and oversee a community of Priests in the Society of Saint Basil, an autocephalous congregation established and approved under Russian Orthodox Primate in the US in 1917.

Publications
I have published thirteen books on Philosophy and Theology (see Robert Geis at Barnesandnoble.com or Amazon.com) and have published in scholarly journals

Education/Credentials
BA, MA, and PhD, as well as DD

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