Today's Lectionary Text
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said 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.”
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Have you ever had a moment of elation deflate quickly like a leaky balloon? I was 11 years old and in the middle of a Little League game when I crushed a ball to center field. I remember the excitement as I realized how hard I had hit that ball. I dropped my bat and started my home run trot.
Unfortunately, the ball was a screaming line drive that never got more than 6 feet off the ground. The whole ballpark heard the loud “clank” as that ball hit squarely against the top bar of the chain-link fence and bounced straight into the arms of one of my friends who was playing center field at the time. Since I had not been running hard, he zipped the ball into second base, and I had to quickly retreat for one of the longest singles I ever hit in my baseball career.
My elation turned into disappointment.
A rich man in today’s text has that same feeling. He asks Jesus what he needs to do to inherit eternal life. He probably is pretty excited as he checks off the “done that” list as Christ talks about following commandments. But then, Jesus tells him he also must sell all his possessions – in other words, surrender totally to God. The man walks away disappointed.
How many of us would walk away in the same manner? Jesus offers far more to us than anything we can gain on this earth – eternity with Christ! No matter how lost we may have been up to this point in life, Jesus tells us all is possible with God. Believe in Him, and there is no reason to walk away disappointed.
Prayer for Reflection
Gracious God, we thank you for the gift of eternal life. We can’t buy it. We don’t deserve it. But you make it possible through our Savior Jesus Christ. Glory to you for loving us so much!
– Todd Seifert, Director of Communications
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