Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Treasure in Heaven

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'" He said to him, "Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were greatly astounded and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible."
Peter began to say to him, "Look, we have left everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first." Mark 10:17-31 
I have never been one to want tons of money, although I do occasionally dream of how nice it would be to win the lottery. Most of our lives we have struggled to make ends meet, choosing lives of service rather than lives dedicated to making tons of money. And yet, our possessions and status can possess us. And I am as guilty as anyone of not seeing the need around me, and not sharing the abundance God has given us.
A wealthy young man comes to Jesus and gets the answer he does not want to hear. He has to give up his lifestyle, his comfort, his identity of privilege in order to see God's kingdom, God's treasures. And to him it seems an impossible task, like a camel through the eye of the needle. Jesus knows that none of us can save ourselves, but that God invites us to lean hard on the promises of love, that God is acting for us when we can't and helping us move from blind selfishness to love fully aware - the kingdom of God.
Today I ask God to help me in my weakness, my blindness and my selfishness. God help us all to let go of our comforts so that the helpless can be comforted. God help us to see the need around us and act as those humble enough to be citizens of God's realm here on earth.

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