Thursday, October 11, 2012

giving away to gain life everlasting Mark 10:17-31

Mark tells a story this week.  A wealthy young man came to Jesus with a question: Jesus what do I have to do to inherit eternal life? Mark 10:17

Jesus peppered him with questions: Why do you call me good? You know the commandments? Mark 10:18-19

The man was undeterred. He listed everything he'd done proudly naming the way he'd honored the commandments from childhood on Mark 10:20.

Jesus answer challenged him more than he could have imagined, You lack one thing.

This young man had everything and had done everything right. How could he lack anything?

Sell what you have and give it to the poor then come with me. Mark 10:21

Looking out for the other guy isn't always easy. The old sinful self creeps in over and over again. Evil and selfishness often disguises themselves. God's calls these old enemies out. Listen to God's word and act. Look carefully at each decisions: what is truly best for your neighbors. Jesus was inviting this man to freedom and he wouldn't accept. He wouldn't let go of his many possessions. Listen again to the words of the prophets and the apostles. God unimpressed by empty worship. God wants faithful action and voting that is in the best interest not of ourselves but of others. God's Holy Word shakes us from complacency. Faithfulness pushes us out into public conversation and even action for the sake of our neighbors.

Every election year people of faith can take very different public stands about complex issues. Its good and right to wrestle out loud. Listen to each other and to God Word. Listen to it; let it shape and mold honest dialogue and conversation. People of faith can step forward with confidence in God's Word as a guide. People of faith can and even do disagree. And as we do disagree let's remember the reason why we vote and why we enter complex political conversation: for the sake of our neighbors.

The young man was invited to give all away for the sake of his neighbors, the poor. And the young man went away heartbroken. Mark 10:22

There's a lesson for us. We won't take all our beloved possessions with us into the kingdom of heaven. The simple truth is we won't have a choice at all. U haul trailers don't follow hearses. The thing is Jesus is inviting us to live this way today. Instead of knowing vaguely that we really don't get to own anything forever why not live today like it’s the truth. Why not live today like we can't and shouldn't try to hold onto things.

Jesus explanation was very plain. It's hard—truly it's impossible for a rich man to enter heaven on his own—but for God all things are possible. Mark 10: 23-27

Our culture is built on the accumulation of stuff—not the accumulation of wealth—rather stuff. And Jesus is challenging our culture and us as part of it to look beyond stuff and to see what has true eternal merit.


Pax, John

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