Because He Is Risen
Gracious Lord, without You I can neither think nor act rightly. I seek guidance now from Your holy Word.
Read Luke 18:18-30
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.
“Our tears are sacred. They water the ground around our feet so that new things can grow” (Rob Bell and Don Golden).
Attentive as ever to color and detail, Luke delivers another iconic account of a meeting with Jesus. A man who, in Jewish terms, has everything asks for a route map to eternal life. He is respectable and religious, rich and righteous. He knows the law of God, and walks in obedience to it. Somehow he has managed to combine wealth and worship and is a success in both the marketplace and the synagogue.
So what is missing? What do you give to the man who has everything? The novel answer suggested by Jesus is “nothing.” This high achiever has missed the joy of having nothing, the simple innocence of being powerless and possession-less. He has eaten in luxury but he has never tasted simplicity. The Jesus prescription for what ails him is to give away everything and try nothing (22); and though Jesus offers him this as a gift, he cannot receive it.
Luke withholds the end of the story from us. As so often in this Gospel, the power of the telling is in the detail. This man goes away from Jesus “very sad” (23). Is this the end of his story, or the beginning? From this sadness, might repentance and new life grow? It seems impossible. It seems that this man is trapped by his wealth. It seems that there is no happy ending for him. But what men find impossible, Jesus tells us, God makes possible. Dare we believe that God might later have made possible a change for this devout man, that he might even have become a fellow believer and shared his story with Luke? Perhaps Luke knew of his sadness because he knew him as a friend. Perhaps his tears became the first steps towards freedom.
The man was trapped by his wealth. Are you trapped by anything that keeps you from fully surrendering to the Lord? If so, pray for strength to let it go.
Lord God, You know me and what I tightly embrace. May nothing ever be more important to me than You.
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