Let us now understand the real meaning of the eye of the needle reference in the Bible.
Ever wondered if God is against the rich? Do you feel that worldly richness is against the Kingdom of God? Do you think that God does not like rich people? Well, earlier even, I had the same feeling. I thought God only loves the poor. But it is not so. God loves everybody, the rich, the poor, the sinner, the saint, the good, and the bad. God loves us all. So, when does richness separate us from God?
Table of Contents
What is Richness? (Story of a Rich Man)
I remember I was told a short story during my school days on being rich. I would like to share it with you. There was once a rich man. He went to church, and it so happened that the verse of the day was, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19: 23,24
He got much disturbed and met the Preacher at the end of the service and asked him, “Preacher, is being rich a crime? My father had left a lot of wealth for me. So, can’t I enter the Kingdom of God?. The Preacher wanted to clarify his confusion. So, he took him to a window and asked him, “What do you see?” The rich man replied, “I see so many people lying on the benches, so pathetic that they don’t have a place to call their own. I feel bad for them and would like to help them.”
And then the Preacher made him stand in front of the mirror and asked him, “What do you see?” The man replied, “I can see myself in my costly suit and shoes.” Then the Preacher replied, “You were the same when you looked through the window and in the mirror. But I tell you, you weren’t rich when your thoughts were concerned about the underprivileged. But you were rich when you admired yourself and your attire.”
Now with the thought that it is the attitude of pride and selfish behavior that separate us from the Lord, let us proceed further.
The Real Meaning of Eye of the Needle
The “eye of the needle” was a gate of entrance to Jerusalem, which was opened after the main gate was closed at night. The gate was so small that merchants on their camels could not pass through it. So, if they had to enter, they had to get down from the camel, dismount the goods from it, and then drag the camel on its knees into the city. (However, certain experts say there was no such eye of the needle gate in Jerusalem.)
So, it is not impossible but a little difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. Let us focus on each step in detail.
The rich need to dismount the camel, that is let out their pride. Richness brings along with its pride. It is this pride that separates the rich people from the Lord. As the Bible clearly says in Proverbs 16:5, “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.”
The next step is to dismount the goods from the camel, which is related to losing your faith in material things. We often think that a huge bank balance and earthly possessions are enough to save us and our children. But as Jesus says in Luke 12:12, “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
If we ever had thought that richness would guarantee us the best life, then we are certainly far from God’s Kingdom. God always wants us to look up to Him for all our needs. You should realize that even the material things that you hold on to has been provided by God and only God can save you and grant you happiness, health, and peace.
The final step is to make the camel kneel and drag it into the city. It relates to humbling oneself before the Lord. Often richness makes one feel indispensable. The importance given by the society makes the rich feel very powerful that humbleness becomes an act that others show to them. But before God, everyone is equal.
You are as equal as anybody who works for you before the Lord. You need to humble yourself before the Lord if you have to enter the Kingdom of God. But this humbleness should be from your heart because God can read your heart and mind. As Jesus says in Luke 14:11, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Are You Still Confused About Camel through the Eye of the Needle?
The first thing that confounds us is the command, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” in Matthew 19:21.
The truth revealed here is that the rich man wanted to show himself as Mr. Perfect and thought that his perfectness is enough to enter the Kingdom of God. We will have to understand that our acts are not enough to enter into the kingdom of heaven. The Bible clearly says in Romans 3: 10, 23, “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;” and “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” It is only by sheer God’s grace that one can enter the heavenly kingdom.
The second command is to sell and give to the poor. The Bible says in Psalms 41:1, “Blessed is he who considers the poor; The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” In Proverbs 19:17, “He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given.” In Proverbs 11:24, “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.” In Proverbs 14:31, “He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.”
So, we understand that: (1) When the rich help the needy the Lord delivers them in times of trouble, (2) God will reward them who reach out to the poor, (3) One cannot become poor by meeting the needs of the underprivileged, and (4) Most importantly when we help the impoverished, we honor God.
God wants the rich to provide for the needy. He wants the rich to utilize their riches to help the poor. It is the attitude of the rich that will decide whether they are far or near to the kingdom of God.
God is equally concerned for the rich. That is why God said “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” when His disciples asked Him “Who then can be saved?”
Key Takeaways from the Eye of the Needle
- God loves everyone.
- It is our attitude toward others that matters.
- Pride and trust in material things are to be avoided.
- One should be humble before the Lord.
- Self-righteousness will not enable us to enter the kingdom of God
So, let us do away with pride, focus on God for all our needs, humble ourselves before the Lord, be considerate to the poor and the needy, and ask for God’s mercy to enter into His kingdom.
We hope our eye of the needle sermon was able to throw light on one of the most well-known Scripture passages. The eye of the needle sermon will help us to rethink our dependency on riches. The eye of the needle sermon will also encourage you to thank God for making a way for the wealthy to approach His everlasting throne.