“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.”
Matthew Chapter 19, Verse 24. It is one of the most iconic scriptures of the New Testament and one I’ve used often to illustrate the impossibility of finding peace and order if you’re unwilling to unburden yourself of encumbering worldly possessions.
Translation: You can’t get organized if you aren’t willing to throw stuff away. This is a difficult truth for many to accept, especially those who have acquired a lifetime of material goods. The more stuff someone has, the more unwilling they generally are to get rid of it, and the harder it is for them to achieve the peaceful life they seek.
We often think of Jesus speaking in parables like this to explain His teachings. And so, I’ve always taken for granted the impossibility of this image. A camel, literally slipping through the eye of a needle? I mean, come on. No chance at all, right?
However, scholars have theorized that the needle Jesus was referring to was actually the Needle Gate, a small opening in the wall surrounding Jerusalem. At night, when the main gates were locked, city-keepers would allow camels and their owners to come in via the Needle Gate, which, for security purposes, forced owners first to remove any saddles or packs from the camel before the animal could slip through.
As a professional organizer, I rejoice in this revelation. It still means that to enter the City of God, one must first unshackle himself of the stuff he carries. BUT – it’s not as ludicrously impossible as it may have once appeared. What was once pure allegory is now much more accessible.
Organizing is a two-step process. First, one must recognize today’s priorities and the needs that fit within that priority. Having the ability to let go of those things, be it objects, activities, and people that no longer fit your lifestyle as we advance is essential before any organization can occur.
Giving up your stuff is never easy. Not for me, not for anybody. Taking time to focus on what is truly important in your life is a wonderful activity during January. By keeping God at the center of our lives and coming to Him in prayer, he will direct our steps to what is essential for our lives today and what is no longer serving our purposes. It truly is amazing how much clearer one can hear His still, small voice in a room free of distractions and clutter.
And if road-weary travelers truly did thread the eye of the needle to get into the City, we can certainly clean out our sock drawer.
What will become a priority in 2016? Because of this new priority, what can you begin to let go of?