October 15, 2018 – Will You Accept His Challenge?

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.” 

He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
Peter began to say to him,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.” – Mark 10:17-30

camel-2“What must I do?” asked the rich man. Jesus’ answer is a challenge. It is not just one more thing the man must add to his “to-do” list, but the essential thing. Jesus asks him to give up everything and follow Him. It is not a simple question or a simple answer. The rich man had accomplished much and was ready to do more. But Jesus’ reply knocks the wind out of his sails. Jesus is calling the man, and us, to trust more deeply, to sacrifice and be transformed.

It is easy to get caught up in depending upon ourselves, but our relationship with Jesus calls us to a radical trust. Give up our plans, our back-up plans, our safety nets, and our stockpiles. Put Jesus first and let everything else go. Until we lay down our lives, we are still serving only in part. Jesus’ answer, said with love, convicts the man of holding back. his words shock the man out of his illusion that he was on his way to eternal life. He must accept the challenge to go deeper. It is not an easy thing, he must sacrifice everything to follow Jesus. It seemed impossible to him.

True wisdom can be more valuable to us than many material things. What wisdom have you found most valuable for your daily walk with the Lord?

God’s word can penetrate deep into our inner self and reveal things we might not want to see. When has God’s word in Scripture revealed surprising depths about yourself, about God, and about your relationship with Him?

Jesus challenges the rich man to give up his riches and follow. What riches of yours is Jesus asking you to give up in order to follow Him more closely?

Lastly, what happened to the man? Did he later accept the challenge? Will you and me?

These are all questions that we must ask ourselves as we step out to face another week. A week that could be filled with great joy but also great frustrations. A week where we may be asked to step out of our comfort zones and do something, maybe for the first time, that gives us the confidence to do it again and again and again.

Remember, we are not alone, as Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel, “All things are possible with God.”

Peace and Blessings.

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