Based on Mark 10:17 – 23
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good, except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honour your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
The young man seemed to be doing everything right, was clearly obedient to the religious laws of his day, lived a good life but when he approached Jesus he was looking for something else. It was as if he was trying to find the next craze or celebrity fad that would jump start his spiritual life; if he got a bit of ‘Jesus’ and a good night’s sleep then all would be well in his world and in the next. His intentions were good but perhaps misguided as he wanted to carve out his own path to eternal life and was unable to trust Jesus because Jesus did not give him a magic formula, a clear cut way to enter God’s Kingdom. Instead, Jesus gave the young man himself as the Way, not an add-on to happiness but rather the chance to be to be taken apart and remoulded like the potter’s clay. He wanted the young man to see a new version of himself, one without a slavish obedience to rules, without attachment to wealth, but the young man’s identity was so wrapped up in his possessions that he could not risk losing himself. He wanted abundant life but could not part with life’s abundances and chose to trust himself rather than Jesus. He went away sad and disappointed because he could not be the person he wanted to be. We read that Jesus looked at the young man and loved him but nothing tells us if he was aware of Christ’s love for him. I wonder why he did not look up?
Living Christ, you have known insecurity and poverty: free us from the need to seek the security of easy wealth. Give us generous hearts, that we may know the richness of your grace. Amen.
Look up and look out, you never know who or what you might miss!
Chris Lovelady, Trustee