As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'" He said to him, "Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is 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." They were greatly astounded and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible."
Peter began to say to him, "Look, we have left everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age--houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions--and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first." Mark 10:17-31
I was kindly given a Diocese of Montana seal for my tippet, which has been blank up to this point. And as I sat down to thread the needle, I realized how much harder it is to thread a needle than it was years ago. I am a good deal more patient than I was then and so am probably a better seamstress. But that doesn't change the fact that my eyes are older and my fingers less nimble as they once were. I have to let go of not having young eyes and use the helps that make it easier. Letting go of what we once possessed can be very hard.
The young man who came to Jesus was so wealthy and Jesus suggested he get rid of his wealth. When the disciples questioned this he said it was easier for the camel to get through the eye of the needle - a minuscule gate in the walled city of Jerusalem. It is so hard to let go of the things that have become part of identity. We would rather struggle and fall down then let go. Our riches might be monetary, or relationships or culture. Sometimes we hold those things so tight we make no room for others and the love of God in our lives. The love that urges us to live for others, to live as servants.
Today I ask God to help me let go of the things that I seem to desperately need to control and own. May we all let go of those thing which bind us, which keep us from serving God and others. May we give freely and love well for the sake of the realm of the Creator.
Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.