Monday, January 9, 2012

Holding on too tightly…..

“As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?"

Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good?  No one is good, only God.  You know the commandments: Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, honor your father and mother."

He said, "Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!"

Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him!  He said, "There's one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor.  All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me."

The man's face clouded over.  This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart.  He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.

………Peter tried another angle: "We left everything and followed you."

Jesus said, "Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out.  They'll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles.  And then the bonus of eternal life!  This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first."    Mark. 1:17-22, 28-30  Message Bible

This story is a great illustration of a divided heart.   No doubt the man loved Jesus and desired to follow Him but his heart was divided between the things of this world and total surrender to Jesus.

He wanted to hold on to the things and people in his life more than losing it all to follow Jesus.

We start out reading in Mark 10 that the man came up to Jesus and asked Him, “Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”   Verse 22 tells us that the man had great wealth.”

So outwardly, he was very successful.

Spiritually this person seems to have it all together as well.   How do we know that?

Well, when he asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life,” Jesus answers him “You know the commandments…” and he responds by saying in v.20 “Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Could you say that?   I sure couldn’t!   Evidently he gave everyone the impression that he was outwardly following God’s commandments.

In this passage we can see that he probably:

worshipped regularly

and tithed his money

honored his parents

didn’t work on the Sabbath

was faithful to his marriage vows    and

didn’t try to cheat anyone in his business dealings.

When he says, All these commands I have kept since I was a boy,” does it mean he had never sinned?

I don’t think so!

But his track record was clean and admirable.  This man had led an exemplary life up to this point.     Who knows?

But something was missing.  Something inside this man was not right, even though outwardly he seemed to have it all together.  

Despite his confidence, there is an uneasiness to this man.

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