Matt. 19:16-26 verse 24 – … 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.
I have a friend that wrote her final thesis for Bible college on “How to reach the affluent.” Like her, I had trouble with this statement from Jesus for some time. A little later in life I learned that if you had a job, had adequate shelter for your family, had access to transportation, and had at least one meal per day, you would be considered to be living in the top 5% of the world’s wealthy people. That meant this verse was also about me.
The rich young man in this account walked away sad at Jesus’ words. Many people would like to be able to serve both God and money, even though Jesus makes clear that our allegiance must be to God alone. So, people have come up with ways to try to soften this hard calling in Matthew 19. For example, some have said that “the eye of the needle” refers to a small gate in Jerusalem that camels couldn’t pass through. That was one that I embraced for a couple of years.
What I came to realize was that Jesus meant to describe something that was impossible. That’s why he adds later, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” It is impossible for us to seek and live for God with a pure heart if we are always desiring other things, like money.
When Jesus says, “With God all things are possible,” I believe he means that his grace will welcome even people like the rich young man to follow him. His grace will welcome us to follow him, to be generous with whatever we have, and to give our allegiance to God alone.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your amazing grace that embraces even the wealthy who desire to follow and serve you. Show all of us your grace and help us always to turn to you.