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Tavern Talk #31: Eye of the Needle

Perspective – the key to so much in life. And of particular importance in Christian life. Perspective is the key to finding and maintaining happiness and success. And it is one of the few things in life that we can control.

This Tavern Talk, like so many others, is about perspective. From a nurse’s perspective administering the COVID-19 vaccine to that mystery thriller “Eye of the Needle” from the early 1980s, to the origin of the phrase “eye of the needle,” the importance and significance of perspective are illustrated.

For the nurse, she is joyful performing her duties administering the vaccine. Why? Because she has seen the loss, the pain, and the suffering of those dying from contracting the virus. In the movie, “Eye of the Needle,” the protagonist’s perspective on someone with whom she has fallen in love is changed when she realizes the true nature of his motivations. Was he going through the motions of showing her love without actually have those feelings?

But most important is the origin of the “eye of the needle” phrase in an exchange between Jesus and a wealthy man. The rich man wants to determine the bare minimum necessary to “earn” eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, then to follow him. The man walks away sad. Why? Because he cannot do it. When questioned by his disciples, Jesus explains that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. How is it possible, ask the disciples. Jesus explains that for man it may be impossible but for God it is possible. In other words, there is nothing that we as imperfect humans can do, but it is only through God’s grace through Jesus Christ that it is possible. Meanwhile, our perspective and our goal must be actually loving our neighbors as ourselves not just undertaking actions that give that appearance. It’s not about what we do but how we feel doing it.

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