Scripture: Matthew 19:13-22
Key verse: (21) “If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”
Reflection: What must I do to be perfect? My mom is moving this month, and as she is cleaning out her house she found some of my old report cards. By no means were they perfect, but it is interesting to look at the grades and remember a season in life where perfection was measured in test scores. What is the measurement of perfection in your life today? Might it be good reports at work, family achievements, or serving those in need? How has the view of “perfection” changed in your life over the years?
When I used to read this passage I often read the man as a failure, unable to live up to what was asked of him, to sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor. However, reading the passage again recently I recognize how much this man accomplished in his life, perhaps more than me! Through his years into adulthood the man was able to follow the law and fulfill it. The good type A person that he was, he sought his next task to accomplish and master. Little did he know the task he would be given, to seek perfection, or as translated in Hebrew, to bring about to fulfillment.
You see, Jesus was giving the man a glimpse into the perfect future of the fulfillment of time that we are all called to live in to. This is Kingdom living. We do not get to the Kingdom by ourselves, we can’t perfectly live into all at once, but we are given a vision as to what perfect living is. This is living where greed does not control our desires, living where care for self cannot be separated from care for neighbor, living where our identity is firmly rooted in Christ. May this be our ideal for perfection, may we strive to perfectly love others, to perfectly hold loosely to what is ours so no one is in need, and to perfectly glorify God in all that we do. This is a tall order, but by God’s grace, the power of the Spirit, and the guidance of Christ, may this be the end to which we strive.
Prayer: Gracious God, imprint in our hearts your goal for perfection, your hope for humanity. Grant us strength and humility to follow where you lead. We give you thanks for calling us on this beautiful journey. Through Christ we pray. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[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].