Scripture: Mark 10:17-31
Key verse: (27) Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
Reflection: Following Jesus is hard. Even the first followers, who actually heard him speak and saw him perform miracles, even they had a difficult time. A man came to Jesus and asked him what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus reminded him of the commandments. When the man insisted that he was following the commandments, the Bible says this: 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Following Jesus when you are wealthy is hard. It’s hard partly because our wealth allows us to get creative about how we read texts like this one. “Sell what you own and give the money to the poor” is a pretty straightforward command from Jesus, but how do we do that? Is it really that simple today? We have been entrusted with gifts from God; our understanding of stewardship tells us this. We are responsible for how we use those gifts. But there are so many different ways to use them in service to the poor (or not). How are we to follow Jesus’ command here today?
It’s like the dilemma we face when we pull up next to someone on the side of the road holding a sign, “Homeless, please help.” We can empty our wallets every time, and hand all our extra water and granola bars out the window. Or we can give our time and tithes to the church which partners with Urban Ministry Center for folks in just these situations. Or we can pull over and take the person to Bojangles with us. Or sell all we have and … hmm … What would Jesus have us do? What would Jesus himself do?
Jesus said this: “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It 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.” 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
That is the good news. Even as hard as it is for us to follow Jesus, it is not impossible with God. Perhaps the answer is to keep asking God to show us what to do and how to live, like those early followers asked Jesus. If, every time we pulled up next to someone asking for help, we asked God again to show us how to follow Jesus, it would be a start. It’s when we stop asking that we are truly in trouble.
Prayer: Lord, show me what to do and how to live in order to follow you. Help me learn what it truly means to give my money to the poor. Help me hear you speaking next time I see someone in need. For with you, all things are possible. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].