Rich, Religious, Restless
Lord, when I have You I lack nothing. All I need is to rejoice. I rejoice as I bow in worship now.
Read MARK 10:17-31
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.
“The soul must long for God in order to be set aflame by God’s love; but if the soul cannot yet feel this longing, then it must long for the longing” (Meister Eckhart).
From time to time a few words will capture truths of breathtaking importance. The shortest New Testament verse, John’s unadorned “Jesus wept” (John 11:35), is one example but Mark offers us another here: Jesus’ reaction to the rich young ruler. “Jesus looked at him,” he tells us, “and loved him” (21). Jesus sees that, from birth, this young man has tried to please God (20). Jesus is not afraid to let his love for this stranger be apparent, as noted by the eyewitnesses to the conversation. Having previously berated the Pharisees for their loveless understanding of God’s Law, Jesus treats this young man differently because he sees the intentions of his heart. He honors the honest effort of a rich, religious, young man to seek God.
So, why does he challenge him with the impossible task of giving everything away (21)? Why make discipleship so hard? The answer is that Jesus is not demanding something of this man: he is offering something. For all the treasure he owns, he has not had the pleasure — the overwhelming joy — of self-denial What do you give to the man who has everything? The opportunity to have nothing. To make such an offer is to honor this man’s spiritual journey. Jesus offers him the one thing he lacks because he believes him to be ready. And the offer comes with a prize: the opportunity to become one of Jesus’ disciples.
Mark does not bring this story to a conclusion. We know that the young man goes away pondering Jesus’ offer, struggling with its life-changing implications, but we do not know whether he made the change. God may show you a chapter in someone else’s story, but he may not choose to show you the ending.
Think of those you know who are open to the Good News but have not yet embraced it. Pray for them and ask the Lord for an opportunity to share with them.
Gracious Lord, give me compassion for the spiritual longings of others. Open my eyes to their honest intention, and my ears to a humble prayer.
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