Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Thought for Wednesday 13 May 2015

“Jesus said, ‘How hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the Kingdom of God.  It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.’  His disciples were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, ‘Who then can be saved?’  Jesus replied, ‘ With humans it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible!’”  Mark 10:24-27 NKJV

Recall that this passage follows the encounter Jesus had with the “rich young ruler” who inquired of Jesus, “What must I do to be saved?”  After the young man had affirmed his commitment to the commandments, which Jesus still holds as necessary, Jesus told him he must sell all his possessions, give to the poor, then take up the cross and follow Him.  The young man walked away, of course, “for he had great possessions”.

Also notice that the disciples were probably not wealthy measured against the “young ruler”, and yet they were astounded that a refusal to give up possessions, great or small, stood between themselves and Paradise!  “Who then can be saved?”  It would seem that even with what little they may have had, they recognized and maybe even shared the young ruler’s sorrow and dismay!

It is telling for us to be asked how our future looks, and the first thing we will do is check our bank statements and investment portfolios, our Social Security estimate statements, and our pension funds.  Only then can we decide whether our future is secure.  It would appear, then, that this is exactly the mindset of the disciples when they considered that salvation for anyone was just this side of impossible because though they may not have had the “great possessions” of the young ruler, they had perhaps enough to consider themselves “comfortable”.

Jesus teaches that the measure of personal security may well be the “impossible” standard because we are asking the wrong question.  It is not, “What must I do to be saved?”, which is entirely self-serving and antithetical to Kingdom standards.  Rather, it may be more accurate to say, “What must I do to serve the Kingdom?”  The commandments are important in the life of faith, and Jesus affirms this.  Our obedience is the ultimate expression of our trust in The Lord’s Providence, even when we do not fully understand the commandments.  We trust that The Lord will show us the way.  That is faith, which has nothing to do with our intellectual capacity to believe something.  Yet there is much more asked of us than to merely refrain from harmful acts. 

Our embrace of what we think of as our possessions as our own is our curse, our albatross, the “mill stone” hung around our necks.  But when we understand what we have been entrusted with as tools of the Kingdom, the “impossible” standard is suddenly not so insurmountable.  Suddenly what was once “impossible” becomes entirely possible all because we trust not our possessions but our God. 

It is about asking the right questions.  It was not strictly the potential loss of possessions that compelled the young ruler to walk away.  It was the reality that possessions and salvation and life in the Kingdom are not strictly about “me”.  When we learn to ask the right questions, only then may we expect to find the right answers.  Then we will find the reason to drop everything, take up the cross, and follow Jesus.  Only then will a life of faith finally have meaning and purpose.



No comments: