Sermon Recording: Camels, Needles and Who Shall be Saved (Mark 10:17-27; 1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Needle Gate, Camel Pose, Needle and Thread

Needle Gate, Camel Pose, Needle, and Thread

Message: Camels, Needles and Who Shall Be Saved
Scriptures: Mark 10:17-27; 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Offered 4/19/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

I’m indebted to my friend Martha Mackey for sharing with me how the camel pose in yoga opened this passage of Scripture for her.
camel pose 1-4

Mark 10:17-27 NRSV
17 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?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 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.'” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 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.” 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23 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!” 24 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! 25 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.” 26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Dear God, I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me. And what you want to give me is love, unconditional, everlasting love. Amen. – Henri Nouwen

A reflection on this passage by Steve Garnaas Holmes entitled Who Can Be Saved?

Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by you or laid aside for you,
Exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
You are mine, and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Mark Day 10: Rich Young Ruler

If you know the name of this work and/or the artist, please let me know so I can give the person credit.

Gospel of Mark Reading Plan
Day 10 Reading: Mark 10

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
– Mark 10:23 (NIV)

Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me. And what you want to give me is love, unconditional, everlasting love. Amen. – Henri Nouwen

Observation
Mark 10:17-31 A godly man approaches Jesus, asking him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus, moved by the man’s humility and sincerity, looks deeply into his heart. Only one thing stands between him and a saving faith, the man’s dedication to his wealth. Jesus instructs him how to free himself of this idol: 1) sell everything, 2) give it away to the poor, and 3) follow him. The man leaves for home with a heavy heart. He chooses his wealth over God. Jesus reminds the disciples how difficult it will be for the wealthy to know their need of God and to trust God more than their money and possessions.

Application
The timing of this story seems especially profound, given the state of the economy and the start of annual retail circus leading up to Christmas. Will those who are no longer financially secure now seek God differently? Will we express our love to family and friends differently this year? Could the stripping away of false financial security be used of God to save us?

It’s not addition that makes one holy, but subtraction: stripping the illusions, letting go of the pretense, exposing the false self, breaking open the heart and the understanding, not taking my private self too seriously. Conversion is more about unlearning than learning. – Richard Rohr

Saving faith places God first, before all other things. What am I placing first in my life?
My family? My work? My comfort? My agenda? My…

1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

There are three conversions necessary:
the conversion of the heart, mind, and the purse.
-Martin Luther

Prayer
Jesus, you love us enough to tell us the truth. We cannot serve two masters. Only one will have our ultimate trust and loyalty. We are far more affluent than we care to admit, especially when we consider global economies. We place our trust in checking accounts, investments, and insurance far more easily than we place our trust in you. The wealth of this world will come and go. You alone are steadfast. We work hard to be prepared, to be secure, yet you alone can save us in the end. Forgive us our shortsightedness and our idolatry. Help us to place our trust and loyalty completely in you. Amen.

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Steve Garnaas-Holmes provides two terrific blog posts on this passage. Click Here for The One Thing (Mark 10:22) and click here for Who Can Be Saved (Mark 10:17-27).

For a wonderful blog post by Liz Curtis Higgs on this same scripture, click here

For a devotion containing comments on the problems surrounding the Gospel of Health and Wealth, click here

For more quotes on money and its use, click here or click here

For more information on the Gospel of Mark Reading Plan, click here

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.