“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24
The needle is real…
It can be possessions.
It can be people.
I can be our professions.
It can be the pursuit of fortune and fame.
This guy came to Jesus and asked Him point blank what he had to do to gain eternal life. The question alone should possibly give us a clue into the motivation. Essentially he was asking “how can I live forever?” Don’t we all want to know the answer to that question? Isn’t that the reason people have searched for fountains of youth, gone under the knife for plastic surgeries, slept in hyperbaric chambers? People want to know the secret to living longer…especially how one can live forever.
So this rich guy (or so we understand him to be) wants to know from Jesus how to receive eternal life. It’s an existential question. It’s a realistic question, and sometimes it’s a selfish question. Sometimes when we read this passage we want to demonize this guy. He’s rich, he’s done all the right things but he just can’t seem to come to terms with Jesus’ final request…”If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (vv.21)
Was the hang up on following or giving? Jesus seems to indicate to his followers that it was in the “giving”. Yet perhaps it’s both. In order to do one, this guy would have had to do the other as well. He had to let go of what he owned in order to follow Messiah and receive eternity.
He got stuck.
A few years ago I had the opportunity of going into a deep cave system with a group of young people. Down we went into this cave system until we came to a section in which we had to crawl on our bellies. The cavern we were in connected to a much larger more beautiful cavern but to get to the next “room” we had to get down on our bellies and crawl through a tight crevice in the rock. It was only about ten feet of crawling beneath this massive rock formation, but for some panic set in. Halfway through my “crawl” I came upon a segment in which I nearly got stuck. I had, in my pockets, placed keys and a wallet. As I crawled I hit a snag because of these bulky items in my pocket and I had to make a decision. I couldn’t go any further until I emptied my pockets. I breathed deeply for a few seconds and then worked my hand back down to my pockets in order to free myself from the snag. If I hadn’t emptied my pockets (which I re-positioned in my hand for the rest of the journey) I would not have been able to complete the journey through the small crevice and see the magnificence of the next cavern. I would have been stuck!
What are we stuck on?
This guy couldn’t make that next step in the journey because he was stuck on his possessions. Jesus was calling him to make this change and yet he was stuck. It’s easy to point the finger at this guy and say “well it was because he was so rich”…but how often do we find ourselves clutching onto things that are preventing us from moving on in this spiritual journey?
We’re on the crawl and we’ve hit a snag. Unless we make some changes we cannot move on…we cannot progress. We might not get into the “next room”. You see the “next room” isn’t even about seeing heaven, it’s more about being with Jesus, the One who has brought us this salvation and the power to even move forward.
So the question that we must ask ourselves is this: “What are we stuck on?”
What is holding us back from saying “Yes I will follow You anywhere and everywhere!”
Are you stuck with your finances?
How about your place of employment?
Your pursuit of fame, fortune, notoriety, relationships, family…
All of these things can become a sticking point for us if they become our complete obsession in life.
Are you stuck right now?
Have you hit the panic mode yet?
Do you even recognize that these things are holding you back? Do you understand Christ has called you to greater things if you’ll just follow Him? If you are stuck right now and you wish to finally surrender yourself fully to Christ here’s a verse of hope for you today: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) Christ promises to provide for us. Christ longs to free us of the other burdens of these things we’ve clung onto and placed great emphasis on. His way will lighten our load and guide us towards the eternal pathway. He is our guide. Trust Him!
-Just something more to ponder for today.