“Getting stuck in the needle”

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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.

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 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? 

 

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Are you stuck?

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?  
                   or…
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.

Light our way!

Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

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Have you ever stumbled around in the dark?  I have on numerous occasions and usually it ends with me finding a light source only after finding unidentified objects in my path with my shins and toes!  Walking around in darkness is never desired, we need to see where we’re going in order to navigate safely through.  

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A few years ago I went on a cave tour in the mountains of Tennessee.  We descended down into this cave with our tour guide, at the surface it was a hot summer day, but when we arrived to the bottom of the cave it was a chilly fifty degrees.  After some instructions from our guide, we took another hike through some narrow portions of the cave.  We even crawled through some spaces at one point, which made it just a little bit claustrophobic for some.  Finally after we had climbed through the narrow crevice we found ourselves in a large cavern with walls that were at least 15 feet tall.  The ceiling sparkled as there were numerous deposits of some kind or another.  Finally our tour guide asked us to trust him and to do something unthinkable.  He asked us to turn our lights off.  So we did and suddenly our entire group was plunged into complete and total darkness.   It was momentarily unnerving when I considered how deep we were and all of the rock that hovered over our heads.  It was so dark that I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face.  Our tour guide then spoke and said, this is what complete and total darkness feels like.  

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Sometimes in our spiritual lives we find ourselves in places like this.  Suddenly the light goes out and we’re standing there in the dark afraid and on the verge of panicking.  Perhaps we get there by our own strength and resources, we stray from God and try to do everything ourselves.  Other times we neglect our devotion and prayer life with God and we become disconnected with the Father.  And again suddenly we are plunged into a darkness  of our own choices.  

Whatever situation you may identify with know that this darkness can be conquered by His Word and His love!  He can and will guide us through this life if we let Him.  All too often I identify with the darkness because I take back my cares and concerns and think that I can do it all in my own strength.  Have you ever done that?  At times I think (and wrongly so) I don’t need any one’s help I’ve got this…but I couldn’t be more wrong.  

His Word will light our path if we’re consuming it daily!  But don’t stop there, allow His grace to fall on you each day, moment by moment as you invite Him into your day throughout your day!  

He will be your guide…do you trust Him?  

 

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