Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Loving God – Loving Others

Luke 18:25

Indeed, 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.

112015 Ray McDonaldLet us think for a moment today of difficult things in our lives – cue the Mission Impossible music.  We wrote once about loving our enemies – about hatred and love.  Loving our enemies has to rank up there as a tough thing to accomplish.  For some of us getting properly and getting enough exercise seems to be difficult.  For some getting to work on time or to church on time seems difficult.  Getting along with the in-laws or our spouse seems hard for some.

Can we think of a few things that we find difficult?  How about getting good grades?  How about waiting till marriage to be intimate with our fiancé or with our dates?  How about going a day without something we love – like fasting from something we have on a regular basis.  What about making ends meet when our income has been reduced or removed?  What about trying to make sense out of this world?

When I was younger – I use to think that the passage for today meant that rich people couldn’t get into heaven – because my grandma sewed and I knew we could never get a camel through the eye of a needle.  I often had a hard time getting thread through the eye of the needle.

As I studied this passage I ran across an article that told me that the eye of the needle was a doorway in the wall around the city.  Most often the primary doors to the city were closed and if one came upon the city at a time when the primary doors in the wall were close one had to enter through one of these side doors.  The door was very small – and many people traveled in those days by camel.  If one had to enter the city through the eye of the needle with one’s camel one would need to get the camel on its knees and make it crawl through the door – no easy task.  Possible but difficult for sure.

So why would Jesus say – indeed, 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.  Let’s take a look at today’s passage in partial context.  Luke 18:18-25 – 18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, 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.”

Our love of things can get in the way of our love of God.  We can be so earthly bound we are of little heavenly good.  Our things – and the rich man had many things – can block us from a relationship with Jesus.

It’s not that Jesus would ask each of us to sell everything we have and follow Him – but whether – if asked – we would do it!  Our love for Jesus needs to be greater than our love for the things of life.

So – what is it that we love so much and cling to more than Jesus?  Here are some Scriptures to think on today.

1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Hebrews 13:5 – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

The rich – and compared to the world most who live in the USA are the rich – can get to heaven – but it is a difficult road.  We must be willing to put God first – above our things – above our wealth – above everything – even our feelings.  The more we have the more we tend to depend on what we have rather than depending on God.  We need to be sold out for Jesus and willing to follow Him anywhere.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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March 18, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , ,

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