Riches and the Kingdom
Pause at this time to ask our Lord to enable you to hear whatever challenging words he has for you.
Read Mark 10:17-31
 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, honor 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.  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”  The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It 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.”  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”  Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”  “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-along with persecutions-and in the age to come eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy do you think this man went away sad?
If we want to be Jesus’ disciples, mere obedience to commands is not enough. Discipleship can never be only rules for life or “do’s and don’ts” to get us where we want to be. The problem with that approach is that we remain in charge and don’t recognize the limitless right of our Lord to ask for more. It lacks heart and, however serious we might be in our obedience, we shall inevitably fall short. For Jesus’ disciples, the man in the story must have checked all the right boxes. He was materially successful. To many in Israel, that was a sure sign of God’s approval. He was respectful of Jesus and wanted to be a follower (17,18), and he had been a serious student of the Law all his life (20). Even Jesus seemed impressed (21). No wonder blank amazement greeted the man’s sad departure (23-26). If this man falls short, surely no one will make the grade! But Jesus encourages his real disciples of all times and places that a radical, loving commitment of the heart is worth far more in the Kingdom of God than boxes carefully checked. It is indeed a “world turned upside down.”
Jesus’ response to the man was specific to him. Pray that you’ll know what full commitment to Jesus means for you.
Lord Jesus, I don’t want to just go through the motions of following You. I want to really do it.
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