January 29, 2017
After a rich young ruler came to Jesus asking what good thing he must do to have eternal life, the Lord told him to sell his possessions, give them to the poor and come follow Him. But the young man went away sorrowful, for he was very wealthy. As the rich young ruler walked away, Jesus told His disciples that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom. He then used a greater to lesser hyperbole to illustrate the problem. The camel represents the rich man, oversized and burdened with a load, while the eye of a needle represents the narrow gate that leads to the kingdom of God. Some have suggested that the “eye of the needle” referred to the small, narrow door within a city gate used for foot passengers, which even a man would need to bow low to enter. However, the metaphor still holds true. A large camel cannot enter through a small door nor a needle’s eye. It would need to shrink to enter either.
Riches have a way of owning us, rather than us owning them. To rely on worldly wealth, rather than God’s provision is idolatry. The rich young ruler who claimed to be a keeper of the commandments had actually failed to keep the first, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”