Jesus spoke to a man who had some similar tendencies to us. We do not know the man’s name the Bible addresses him as the rich young ruler. We may not be rich, or young, or a ruler but we might look at life similarly to this man.
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is[a] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him,[b] “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Jesus does not respond with well done sir. Jesus can instantly see where this man is lacking. He knows he can’t give it all up. He can’t give up all he was worked for. He can’t give up the control he has over his life. He wants his alright-ness to come from the things he has done. He wants Jesus to look at his life and say good job buddy.
After hearing such a list of accomplishments, the men following Jesus are taken aback by Jesus response. The followers of Jesus are impressed by his list of accomplishments. They do not understand why he told the young man to give up what he has.
The man comes to Jesus and tells Jesus all he has done. That would take either courage or stupidity or maybe a combination of both to give Jesus a list of accomplishments. It takes an interesting combination of both to give Jesus a list of things we have done yet we do the same thing.
We give ourselves and the people around us a list of things we have done to prove some sort of alright-ness, some sort of righteousness. We try to find balance in all the things we do. We try to balance out the good and the bad. We try to find the right balanced equation of doing all the things to find our righteousness.
Jesus did not leave the rich young ruler hopeless or the people around him with out hope though. Jesus knows that hope is not found in the things we do but in the things he accomplished for us.
Jesus explains it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who think they have it all together, for someone who thinks they have their righteousness equation balanced, apart from Jesus, to enter the kingdom of God. The only thing that can fix our unbalanced lives is Jesus. The only way he knew to fix our unbalanced and idolatrous lives was to smash the scale we use to balance out our righteousness equations.
It is not about our ability to balance and carry things through the blizzard of our lives. Jesus is going to get out big bumbling camel bodies through the eye of that needle in the middle of a blizzard. He is going to get us through that eye because of all he has done not because of some sort of balance we have struck between the good we do.
Sometimes we turn ourselves into tiny gods of our lives like the rich young ruler did. Other times we take the good gifts God has given us and try and turn them into our gods.
Since we can’t balance out our lives does that mean we just stop doing all the things? Heck no. We are going to chat more about that next week so hang in there. We still get to do the things. Actually, the things become more of a joy because we are not placing our hope, our alright-ness, or our righteousness on how well balanced all of the things are. Instead we get our hope, our alright-ness, and our righteousness from Jesus.
We can’t balance all the things. We can’t get ourselves into the kingdom of God. We can’t but all things are possible with God.
Life isn’t perfectly balanced. Life is crazy, messy, sometimes scary, and down right nasty sometimes. (We will talk more about this next week)
What are you trying to balance in your life right now to squeeze through the eye of the needle??
Remember that you don’t have to try and balance it all out to squeeze through. Just as Jesus told his disciples we can’t do it but He will.