Archive for June 21st, 2007

Riches and Camels

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Today’s scripture: Matthew 19:23-26 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):

In the passage right before this, a rich young man comes to Jesus asking, “What must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus tells him about the commandments not to kill, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to lie, to honor one’s father and mother, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself.

“I’ve kept all these; what do I still lack?” asks the man. He’s certain there’s something missing in his life, but he doesn’t know what it is.

Verses 21 and 22 are two of the saddest in the Bible: “Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.”

Then Jesus turns to his disciple and makes the statement we read today — it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. This seems awfully harsh, and the disciples rightly challenge Jesus, saying, “Then can anyone be saved?”

The disciples seem to realize that we all suffer from the same problem this man had. All of us have “riches” in our lives that get between us and God — tangible things that keep us from fully embracing God’s spiritual Kingdom. We’re like a camel that could go through the eye of a needle if it didn’t have that big body to deal with.

Sometimes these tangible obstacles to our spiritual health seem impossible to overcome — just like the rich young man or the camel — and yet Jesus says, “With humans this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Thought for the day: What obstacle is coming between you and God’s kingdom? Ask God to help you find the courage to shed it, so you can embrace God more fully.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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