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MINISTRY // Needle eyes and camels

MINISTRY // Needle eyes and camels

One of our Bible institute professors shares this story from his time in China.

A young synagogue leader

At a late morning Bible study with nine people, we considered the story of the rich young ruler from Mark 10.  

You’ll recall that this young man asked Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” As Jesus explored that question with him, the Savior challenged the man’s belief that he had kept all the commandments. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor,” Jesus told him, “and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

A camel and a needle's eye

When the man walked “away sad, because he had great wealth,” Jesus remarked, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!... It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

This confused the disciples, “Who then can be saved?” they asked.

Jesus answer, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

A troubled woman

When I asked if anyone had questions about this account, a troubled Christian woman poured out her concerns for her mother. Her mother is a Buddhist; she is striving to follow the Noble Eightfold Path and ultimately to gain nirvana. “Is there any hope that the gospel will reach her?” was at the heart of her questions.

“Let’s look again at our Bible story,” I suggested. “Jesus is helping us see that our spiritual life is dependent entirely on him. No more than we could get a camel to go through the eye of a needle, can we bring ourselves into God’s love and heaven. But God can bring us there. He has brought us there through the work of his Son.”

All things are possible

“For the same reason,” I continued, “we can go to him and depend on his power working with those who are yet outside of the faith.  No one is ever so far ‘out’ that God cannot bring them in. He does that when we share the gospel with them.”

My believing friend found peace in the promise that “all things are possible with God.” She left that morning renewed in her commitment to keep introducing her mother to Jesus because he has the love and the power to pull camels through the eye of a needle.