October 5, 2009

A Frightful Scripture

Filed under: Faith Seeking Understanding — Pastor Tim @ 10:33 am

“Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  Mark 10:21b

Don’t those words strike terror into your heart?  Jesus had been asked what was needed “to inherit eternal life,” and this was his response.  But who can do that?  A number of folks manage to live on a shoestring; would Jesus really ask such people to give up their shoestring!

Actually we know this man depended upon much more than a shoestring.  The scripture says simply that “he had many possessions.”  Perhaps the question for us becomes this: How much is too much?  If we compare our lives to Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey or any number of professional athletes or movie stars, we may convince ourselves that we’re getting by on a shoestring.  If we compare our lives to the one-sixth of the world’s population that lives on a dollar a day, however, suddenly we are the wealthy.

But let’s not get hung up in any guilt over how much we do or do not have.  I don’t think this is a story about guilt.  It’s a story about love.  “Jesus, looking at [the man], loved him.”  Apart from his wealth, apart from his obedience to the commandments, apart from anything he could do to earn his way into heaven, he was embraced by Jesus’ heart!

That’s a frightful message for some of us who don’t know who we would be without our possessions, or without our obedience, or without our good works.  But that’s the gospel message for all of us: we don’t have to do a single thing, indeed we can’t do a single thing, to earn God’s love!

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