May 17, 2019
The man didn’t know that the answer to his question would be so jarring, so potentially life-changing. On that day long ago he asked Jesus, “what must I do to have eternal life?” I imagine he thought that Jesus would give him a “to-do” list and he would check items off the list and have new life in this life and the next. Simple. This story is in Luke 18.
Instead, he discovered that Jesus knew him. Jesus knew what held him back from truly loving God and others. So Jesus told him to sell all his goods and give them to the poor. Too hard for the man to do, he walked away because he was very rich.
If you or I asked the same question, Jesus may have said something different. He would, I think, look deeply at us and then tell us what we need to let go in order to live and love fully. For the man, it was his riches. Maybe it would be the same for us but it could also be lots of other things that hold us back from living and loving fully.
You can probably name a thousand things that hold others back. Some are old hurts, prejudices, destructive attitudes, anger at God or others, addictions, and attachments to riches, stuff and things. This can be easy for us to see in others and hard to see in ourselves.
Jesus knew the rich young man. Jesus knows us, too. In prayer, music, words of a friend, Scripture and much more, Jesus tells us what WE need in order to have life now and eternally. He knows us deeply. Will WE listen or walk away?
One of the things I miss since my mother’s death in 2013 is that she always seemed to know when I needed a word of encouragement, a small gift or a hug. She knew when to challenge me to let go and rest. She was, I realize, an instrument of Jesus’ words.
As we continue with The Main Things…in Jesus’ Words, on Mother’s Day and Confirmation Sunday, May 12, we go to this story in Luke 18:18 and hear Jesus’ words for ourselves. If you can’t be in worship, join us at 9:45 a.m. via the livestream.