As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. Mark 10:17-22
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
The Apostle Paul spoke of the necessity of seeing the things that are unseen and eternal and not letting the things that are seen and temporal overshadow them (2 Corinthians 4:18). Following Jesus is all about putting the unseen and eternal over the seen and temporal. The man in our story has spent much of his life (“from my youth up”) seeking to be properly aligned with unseen and eternal things (I have kept all these things/commandments). At the same time obviously, he has significantly pursued that which is seen and temporal (he was one that owned much property). However, the problem for this man is that the seen/temporal overshadows the unseen/eternal in his life.
Because this is true, he will not be able to respond fully to Jesus without a change being made. Remember how today’s story begins, “a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The man has a desire to get it right, but he’s not there yet and so Jesus shows him what is lacking. Jesus sees that the seen/temporal is overshadowing the unseen/eternal in his life and therefore hinges the needed response of this man to giving up his earthly possessions for heavenly treasure and coming to follow him. We would like a good ending to today’s story but instead it concludes this way, “But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.”
The problem isn’t that he has possessions but rather that possessions have him. The man is not willing to choose following Jesus over his possessions. Spiritual blindness is a problem for all of us. We struggle to see the things that count for eternity and choose them over things that don’t count for eternity. What hold do possessions or other seen/temporal things have on us that keep us from following Christ fully? True disciples are dedicated to the pursuit of not letting the seen/temporal things overshadow the unseen/eternal things that truly count. True disciples know that Jesus feels a deep love for them and they allow the joy this brings and the joy of following Christ above all else, make it absolutely worth the cost.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, deliver me from not seeing clearly the things that really count. I am truly sorry for my over-attachment to earthly things and my under-attachment to heavenly things. I choose you and following you over all else no matter what it costs. Thank you for loving me and your constant work of helping me follow you fully and truly. Amen!
Posted on Tue, March 13, 2018
by Ken Hart