By Reverend J. Loren Russell

Matthew 19:23-26 (26) “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Black history is a story of possible coming out of the improbable. It is a history overflowing with narratives of amazing victories that came out of impossible situations. Black people have persevered through some of the worst times in human history. The faith that bought us through and continues to carry us is knowing that there is possibility in the most unlikely situations. We now stand at the threshold of tremendous opportunities just waiting to be taken advantage of because of our perseverance.

In the Matthew text, Jesus told His disciples, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” This statement came after a rich young ruler went away sorrowfully after Jesus told him to sell all he had, give the proceeds to the poor and follow Him. Jesus then told His disciples that it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven. The needle Jesus was talking about was the doorway into an earthly kingdom that camels could only get through if all the baggage they carried was taken off and they crawled through the narrow opening (called a needle) on their knees. The rich young ruler had the same opportunity but would not leave his riches. He would not humble himself. The difference between the camel and the ruler was that the camel was only trying to get into an earthly kingdom, while the ruler missed the chance to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Whatever burden you carry, be it wealth or scarcity, privilege or deprivation, it must all be discarded at the gate as we come humbly before our God. Just like the camel, every knee must bow to get through the eye of the needle and into the Kingdom of Heaven.

In the second scripture, Paul’s epistle to the church in Philippi, we find an encouraging word. Paul acknowledges and thanks the Philippians for their generous support while he was imprisoned. He encourages them to never lose their faith no matter how challenging their situation. He tells them that Christ can take the adverse circumstances of their lives and use them for their good. Paul says he has learned how to be content with whatever he has, whether an abundance or in a famine, whether in prosperity or poverty. Nothing was impossible or even improbable because he was strengthened by Christ.

What I learned and came to understand from these two verses of scripture is that neither our situations nor circumstances determine our ability to accomplish things. I learned that it does not matter how difficult things may get, we must never quit. If Black History has taught us anything, it is that “with God all things are possible.” It has taught us that tough times produce opportunities for the Lord to reveal in us what Paul knew: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

It is time for us to recognize that our history of perseverance is a gift from God. It has lifted us out of mediocrity and into that place of “I can do all things!” When we build on our legacy, take advantage of every opportunity, and are willing to unload whatever things prevent us from entering the Kingdom of God, we prove that the Lord still puts possible into the improbable.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; and creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen on Matters of Faith on Facebook LIVE.

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