When my mom first taught me how to sew it was hard. The biggest struggle was learning how to thread the needle. It was so frustrating watching her wiz through it like a pro, and there were times when I would just give up and walk away. But, I knew if I didn’t get this one annoying part under foot, it would keep me from learning how to sew and make beautiful things.
So, I kept trying and trying and trying. Eventually, my mom showed me a technique. She would take the very tip of the thread lick it, then put the thread through the eye of he needle. When I saw her do that, I thought, “YUCK”. But, the thread went through without a hitch. When I saw that, I said, “Ok, it may be yuck, but it’s going to get me where I want to be”, which is sewing. I tried it and wouldn’t you know it, it went right through.
The eye of the needle is very narrow. So much so that nothing that has volume can make it through it. Only something thin and without much weight can make it through. The thread had to lose some volume and thickness. Before long I was on my way sewing and making beautiful, perhaps a bit lopsided and deformed, things.
In Matthew 19:24, there is an example that Jesus gives in reference to this very thing. He says, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, then for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.“
“Some theorize that the needle Jesus was speaking of was the Needle Gate, supposedly a low and narrow after-hours entrance found in the wall surrounding Jerusalem. It was purposely small for security reasons, and a camel could only go through it by stripping off any saddles or packs and crawling through on its knees.”. If this is true, can you imagine the imagery of this camel, squeezing through this small space in a wall, with someone behind him pushing, practically forcing him through a gate. Funny thing is though, I can feel the desperate distress of needing to get to the other side. As a kid, I remember getting stuck trying to fit through a fence while crossing through a neighbor’s yard, trying to get home. I got stuck, and my clothes got snagged. Taking off my jacket helped, but it wasn’t without its consequences. It was torn and ripped. For the camel, the destination is just beyond this gate and I’ve traveled this far to make it through and the only thing keeping him and his master from getting pass there is this stuff he had on his back.
Two choices come to mind when thinking on this image Jesus gave….I could simple turn around and go back, which would defeat the purpose for my journey. DON’T NO BODY GOT TIME TO GO BACK!! Or, the other option is to drop the supplies I packed for myself and those who came with me, and leave them behind. Humble myself and crawl on through this narrow way and replenish what I lost on the other side. The camel and I had a similar choice to make. I, with my jacket on, could remain stuck to this fence or take the jacket off, and squeeze on through. I was going to lose a nice jacket, but getting to the other side was the purpose. How could I just stay here, stuck in the neighbor’s yard! No way! Like wise, the camel and it’s owner traveled this far to make it to the City. Why would we risk the journey, just to stop now.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen what is behind me and what I will loss on this side of the gate if I remain here. It isn’t ANYTHING compared to what I will gain once I have made it to the New Jerusalem!
So if you, like me, know you have a destination beyond the gate, the needle work is apart of completing the journey. Nothing is worth loosing out on ETERNITY with God. Fact is we will lose some things along the way and not everything we will lose will be bad things. We will have to give up some things that for us seem right, fair, natural and apart of normal life. Sometimes it will be people, but not just any people. It may be people we have loved, cherished, people who have meant the world to us, family members, loved ones. We may have to let go of some RELATIONSHIPS. You know, those relationships that we see nothing wrong with, but GOD sees beyond the surface and knows they will hinder us from something better. The ones that make us feel good, that fill in the empty spaces or at least some of the cracks we have in our hearts. But if those relationships go against His desire for us, or feel normal to our nature, but don’t agree with his nature, or the one he intended for us to have, we must let it go. We will have to let go of some material things. The kinds of things that you feel you need in order to feel secure and happy, like money, houses, cars, lands, or perhaps those things that without them, you feel naked and exposed if you don’t have them on, or near you to secure your happiness or worth. Oh the list could go on and on and on. But, remember that those things are nothing compared to what God wishes to give us on the over side.
You must not forget, the “other side” has two parts. There is this side of heaven, which God does want to give us His best. He desires to fulfill our dreams and give us our hearts desires. but “The Heart is also deceitful above ALL THINGS, and desperately wicked: who can know it?“, says Jeremiah 17:9 Don’t let your heart fool you into thinking that this is all there is that God could possibly do for you here on earth. Don’t risk loosing GOD’S BEST, for “Good enough for now“.
1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard , neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.“
When all else fails, and when you’ve tried to get through the EYE of the NEEDLE your way…..take my word for it….just DROP IT! ALL OF IT and by God’s grace, we shall see us all on the other side.