Eye of a Needle
by Carol Lavenz
“Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matt.19: 24. That statement may elicit a confused reaction, an apologetic interpretation or at least an attempt to re-appropriate the intent; yet it can’t be dismissed. Is it meant to encourage purposeful thinking like ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’
The Acts of the Apostles explains how the early followers of Jesus held everything in common. “Now the company of those who believed was of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things they possessed were their own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32) Does that feel unrealistic, even as an attitude?
Old Testament writings proposed the belief that possessions indicated favor with God. The book of Job clearly altered that belief. Job suffered much and lost much but was faithful, favored, and exemplified by God. The ending scripture phrases call for us to look at the big, big picture of life. “Where were you when I founded the earth? Job 38:4, “Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know its place?” Job 38:12, “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens; can you put into effect their plan on the earth?” Job 38: 33
This gifts an insight of humble gratitude, that an all good, all loving, and all knowing God, entered human destiny and redeemed us in Christ, so Glory would prevail.
This scripture challenges me to embrace my identity in Christ, rather than individual or private ownership. Imagine if I would ‘wear’ my possessions like I wear a sweater. I am not my sweater.
The self-image as one in the Body of Christ, a creation of God is so free and transparent; it could easily fit through the eye of the needle.
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