Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Treasure in Heaven

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must 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, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:17-31Tre

When I was a child, the store at Sunset Beach, run by our family friends the Shadbolts, had a huge treasure chest, filled with mysterious bags filled with things children want. It was called Captain Kidds' treasure chest, named after a local pirate. I always begged for the change so that I could take a chance with the treasure chest and open up something wonderful. On the extremely rare occasion, when my parents would give me the money, I was generally slightly disappointed by the contents of the bag, since my imagination was bigger than the chest. Treasure, and the dreams of finding some lost treasure buried in the dunes, peppered my waking dreams as a child. We always imagine our lives would be different if we could capture one treasure, one huge win, one big prize, then we would be happy and all of our dreams would come true.

Jesus meets a young man as he is setting out. A young man who is good and faithful and very rich. His hearts desire was to be faithful and loved by God. And indeed he was faithful and loved by God. But he wanted more than his opulent life and his comfort would allow. Jesus told him to sell everything he had, give it all to the poor, and follow Jesus in a life of service. This is where their roads diverged, where the young man could not let go of the treasure he had amassed, probably with the help of some very poor people. Jesus asks us today if we are willing to let go of our shallow treasures, our wealth and security, for a life of love and service. It is a hard request, as tough as it was for the beloved, faithful young man.

Today, I ask God to help me let go, to release all of those things that keep me from following Jesus. I ask God to help me trust that the letting go will free me and fill me with treasure that I never imagined. I ask God to help me be that servant today, the one who is anxious only for the care of others, and rests completely in the arms of God.

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