Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Last First

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 10:17-31

Today we will be in transit all day going east, going home to reunite with our family for a time. There is the sheer excitement of seeing loved ones again, the delight in being at our child's wedding and the challenge it is to travel so far. We will line up and be called by row numbers, the last rows first, after, of course, first class. The ease of flying is always challenged by the rush and bother,the pushing and the crowding, and the challenge of TSA. And yet we go with great joy for love is at the other end, and love is ready to receive us. No trip is too hard then.

A person with everything was challenged by Jesus to give it all up. His identity had become enmeshed in his wealth and possessions. He wanted to love God and seek God's way but his comfort and ease were very hard to give up. We are invited today to consider what stands in the way of love and our relationship with God. We are invited to be willing to go to any length as we readily do for those we love.

Today, as we travel home, I ask God to help me be willing to be last, to give up my place so that others might have some small comfort. May we greedily seek after the love of God, willingly putting aside our possessions so we may be defined by Divine love shining through us today.

No comments: