Looking Back Over Jesus’ Life
Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 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.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.
My faith has been formed by the words of Jesus. And many times, they have given me reason to pause. Today’s passage is another great example.
I like my stuff. (I prefer to call the junk I keep treasures, but it’s still stuff. And I have a shed full, a room full, the trunks of several old cars full — and then there are the cars …. Sadly, I am attached to stuff.) And then along comes Jesus, talking to a rich young ruler about living life in the kingdom, and the conversation turns to stuff.
Like the young man in the story, I have tried to live my life in line with the commandments which I find in God’s word. But just about the time I might be proud of how far I have come in living a godly life, there’s another bridge to cross. Would I be willing to sell all that I have and give the money to the poor? I’m not sure.
Rather than walking way in grief, I can follow Jesus in some baby steps.
How about tithing the stuff I already have, in addition to tithing whatever material or financial treasures I receive? Could I help others with a little yard sale or some thoughtful donations to the Habitat Restore or the Meals on Wheels Thrift Shop? Could I clothe some migrant farm workers this winter if I gave some of my good sweaters, sweatshirts, or jackets to the Beth-El Farm Worker Ministry?
Maybe crawling like this will move me toward walking more faithfully with Jesus as I hope to grow in faith.
God, help me to listen to how You speak to me, and to faithfully follow my Lord and Savior Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.