Matthew 19:23-26 – KHALID, THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE, AND THE CAMELEER

Posted: January 1, 2018 in Matthew, Matthew 19
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Camel and eye of the needle2.png

Eye of the Needle © Image created by Ross Cochrane

Matthew 19:23-26 – KHALID, THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE, AND THE CAMELEER

“What if I am too late and the Cameleer will not see me?” Khalij the camel said absently to himself as he increased his pace. Sweat was beginning to seep through his hairy white hide but he still looked splendidly dressed for the journey and he knew he would be presentable for entrance into the city.

Was this the city and the Cameleer he was searching for? “Perhaps I am close”. Surely soon he would find rest. He felt the heavy load of the grain and valuable wares in his saddlebags as he ascended towards the city and Khalij knew he must arrive before sunset or the gates would be closed. Time was running out.

Passing many poor souls along the way who were also on a quest for entrance into the city, Khalij noticed they had scarce resources of food or water to continue their journey. A shabby, dirty looking donkey and lama approached him and begged him for food and water but he ignored their noisy requests. There was always someone who wanted his wares and although he had more than enough, he needed to hurry on. Not today. Best not to get involved.

On reaching the final approach to the gate, tired from the pace he had been keeping, Khalij saw another camel coming his way. His backpacks also were full and the colorful, intricately designed mat on his back laced with gold and indigo indicated he was of high station.

By this time he could see that the gate had been closed, and so Khalij greeted the camel and asked, “Where you not able to enter the city, brother camel?” The young camel looked down at the ground and continued on his way without a word. It was a little disconcerting to see the sadness in his eyes as he retreated down the road.

Khalij reached the locked gate and bellowed up to the walls but no-one came. Noticing a small hole in the huge gate, he looked through and was surprised to see a Cameleer approaching. Was this the Cameleer he had longed to find? “Cameleer”, he said, “I have come to see You. I have heard so much of Your city. What must I do to enter in?”

“What makes you think you are good enough to gain entrance to this holy city”, said The Cameleer.

“I assure you”, Khalij said confidently, “Since my childhood, I have been recognized as a leader among camels. As an albino camel, in all the lands where camels roam, I am considered rare and highly revered. I am dressed in the finest attire and bring with me valuable trade and items for sale.”

“But I detect that in your voice that there is still something missing from your life that brings you on your quest”, said the Cameleer.

“Yes, I am told that Your city will give me the answers concerning my destiny,” said Khalij, not giving away too much. Was this the Cameleer?

“To gain entrance you will need to come through this small door I have constructed just for you.” said the Cameleer. “You will need to follow my instructions carefully and it will be the most humbling experience of your life, but the choice is yours”.

Khalij looked as the Cameleer opened a small door. He had not noticed that this door was constructed within the larger gate.

“With all respect, I fear I shall not get through such a small door as this”, he said.

“The door was designed just for you, Khalij. I have been waiting for you. Come.”

When the Cameleer called him by name, there was something so compelling in the His voice that tentatively, Khalij began to move towards the doorway. He could see that he would need to bow down and then crawl through on his knees but the space was impossibly small; the eye of a needle. What if he were to get stuck half-way?

Bowing his head and crawling part way, he was prevented from making any further progress by his saddlebags.

Khalij said, “I cannot possibly get through without first setting down my saddlebags and then I fear my wares may be stolen by those behind me.”

“You have no need of saddlebags in My City, Khalij,” said the Cameleer. “Give your wares to the poor and come, follow Me. You will find rest and all the provisions you need for your soul.”

It was then that Khalij understood the sadness in the eyes of the rich young camel he had passed on the way. Such emptiness after so long a journey. He had gone away with riches but not rest for his soul.

Khalij thought for some time, trying to assess what would be the biggest decision of his life. He had come so far and he sensed that his quest was coming to a close. Must he also lose all for which he had worked for?

Within the deepest part of his being, he felt that somehow he could trust the Cameleer. With surprising relief, he threw off his saddlebags and began distributing his wares to the poor and hungry who gathered at the gate.

Then he faced the doorway. Once again he bowed his head and got to his knees, crawling towards the small opening. And then halfway through it happened. Suddenly he was stuck! He began to panic. Bellowing and twisting his neck, he tried to kick but his legs were pinned. In an ungainly stumbling crawl, he tried to back out and found, to his relief, it was easy. He must get out!

Khalij was almost out of the confined space that had trapped him when the Cameleer spoke softly and looked into Khalij’s eyes.“Khalij, come. Follow Me. This doorway was made for you. If you keep your eyes on Me and listen to My voice then you will enter the eternal city. I can open closed doors and make what you consider to be an impossibly small space an entrance. But the choice is yours.”

But this would take a miracle, Khalij thought. Gazing up at the Cameleer, Khalij was infused with what he could only call an irrational confidence and trust in the Cameleer. For some unknown reason, he decided to try once again. He inched his way, carefully listening to each instruction given by the Cameleer.

Inch by inch, he began to realize that it was as if this doorway was made only for him. It also occurred to him that the Cameleer was completely filling the Cameleer-sized place in his heart. It was a strange thought. “I am found in Him and He is alive in me”. Only in submitting himself to the Cameleer could progress be made. It would remind him constantly in the endless days ahead of what it meant to follow the Camelier.

“Your name was Khalij, meaning Gulf,” said the Cameleer, “because your wealth and status created a gulf between you and your relationship with Me. Now you shall be called Khalid, meaning Eternal,” said the Cameleer. “This name was always intended for you for I knew that one day you would come to Me, not without great difficulty, to find the eternal city and the door to eternal life.”

So Matthew 19:24 says “I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 

Pastor Ross

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