Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Ye Gates Lift Up Your Heads"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 19:23-24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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." (NIV 2011)
Do you ever find that, after thinking about a person or subject for the first time in months, the same name or word soon comes to your attention once more? I call this a God-instance rather than a coincidence. God is telling us to pay attention, and He wants us to act in some way.
Recently, this happened to me twice. After writing about God's eyes watching us, I came across several more references. I also wrote about doors of opportunity and how Jesus is the Door, and then all kinds of information about doors caught my eye. It didn't occur to me that they might be connected. I simply decided to sit down and write about doors, and see where the Holy Spirit led.
Many cities design a public poster showing various doors in their community, some humble, some grand. Doors are often used symbolically. Whereas open doors offer new possibilities, a closed-door policy can be frustrating or suspicious, and a revolving door signifies impermanence. A door can be a symbol of safety and shelter, or a barrier to keep out strangers.
When I reached this point in my typing, I suddenly saw a connection between doors and eyes.
Was Jesus talking about a real camel attempting to pass through the eye of a real needle? That really is impossible. I remembered that in city walls, large doors, designed for wagons and animals, were built with a small door inside them, just big enough for one person to pass through, but not a camel. There is a theory that the small door was called the eye of the needle. Later, this door-within-a-door became known as a wicket, a term that we still use today. Jesus didn't mean that if we're rich, it's impossible to get into heaven. We must recognize that whatever we are "rich" in — self-confidence, physical strength, great ability, or money — is a gift from God. We may think that it's "ours", or that it comes to us "naturally", but it's not in our own strength or power. We must be willing to give it back to Him, in order for Him to use it the way that He wants. That's difficult, but not impossible.
God showed me something, and gave me fodder for a devotional. When He brings something to our attention more than once, there's a reason. Whether we understand it or not, I encourage you to act on it. This is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit works in our life. It's what makes the Christian life an exciting journey!
Prayer: Father, You have something new to show us every day, and You make our lives so interesting! Help us to listen to Your small voice inside us. Help us to see that whatever we are rich in is a gift from You, to be used in the way that You intended. We acknowledge that the only way to You is "the narrow way". Amen.