Friday Gleanings by Carmen – April 26, 2013
“And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24 KJV)
Our house in Astoria, NY, had a basement. At the end of a dark hallway, there was a small window set above a concrete shelf. For some reason, my brothers and I liked to use this window as our exit into the great outdoors. One of the drawbacks of doing this, was that the window did not open all the way. The size of the opening depended on the weather. After heavy rains or snow, the size of the opening was quite small due to expansion of the wood around the frame.
In order to get through the small opening without getting stuck, or without snagging our clothing, we had to shed as many outer garments as possible. However, what awaited us outside was worth the sacrifice. It was not unusual for my relatives to find piles of coats, scarves, hats, gloves and even galoshes under the little window.
This reminded me of the story of the rich young ruler in Mathew 19:16-30. The rich young man claims to have kept the commandments, but wants to know what else he should do to enter into heaven. Jesus tells him he must sell his possessions and give everything to the poor. When the young man realizes the sacrifice he must make, he leaves with a heavy heart. As he is leaving, Jesus comments on how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. He compares the degree of difficulty to getting a camel through the eye of a needle.
The kingdom of God was beckoning to the young man. He knew in his heart that he wanted to be a part of it, but he was not willing to shed the things that gave him comfort and provided a buffer between him and the rest of the world. The Message Bible says: “He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.” (vs. 22)
In Matthew 7: 13-14 (NIV), Jesus had previously alluded to the narrow entrance into eternal life. He says: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” The rich young ruler found the narrow gate, but he was not willing to shed those things that were getting in the way of his salvation.
Dearest Heavenly Father
You are more precious to us than silver and gold, stocks and bonds, comfort and ease. We know that our lives are as a vapor and that we cannot take anything with us into eternity. Thank you for teaching us to come to you with open hands and hearts.
In the name of Jesus, who had no place to lay His head,