Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him. He said, ‘You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.’ But the man was dismayed at this statement and went away saddened, because he had many possessions.
Many of us come like this man, ready to hear from Jesus the “magic” words to eternal life. We have been good people, have followed the commandments, have attended religious services, have acted in moral ways, are we ok? Have we done what is needed to go to heaven?
Jesus must look at us like he looked at the young man, like we look at our children when we realize that they don’t get it. He looked carefully (attentively) and with love, Jesus realized what was missing in this person’s life.
We are so attached to our things. Most of us would not consider ourselves rich by any stretch of the imagination yet we do have many things, most of us are wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Our stuff becomes our security, our identity, our reason to live. Living an abundant life has become for many of us living with more things, shiny, beautiful, new things. We still long to be good with God, we still want to know that our eternity is secured but truth be told, our actions show that our true source of security is not God but the stuff we have.
Today’s scripture reminded me that our security and our eternity belong to God. All of us have heard the expression “you can’t take it with you” but most of us live with an attitude that since we can’t take it with us we might as well hoard it in this life.
Are we willing to sell it all and give the proceeds to the poor? Are we willing to put our security, our eternity, in God’s hands?
Today there seems to be much conversation about the poor. Issues around healthcare, immigration, unionized labor, and education are constant reminders to us about the plight of the poor. Yet these issues do not seem to bring us to dialogue instead they divide us.
I wonder what would happen if we practiced this “giving away” and “trust” in our society today? Maybe the rich in our society could share what they have, not take huge bonuses, lower their salaries, raise wages of their lower level employees, and trust that in the end their business will prosper. Maybe our governments both local and state, and national could put priority on the poor, their needs and their struggles and we together (isn’t government our collective whole?) could find ways to help each other live fully without fear?
Then there is the church, aren’t we called to be about giving, sacrifice, and helping the least of these? Shouldn’t the poor be at the top of our list?
Jesus is looking at all of us who live in prosperity and asking us if we are willing to give it all away and follow him. This seems impossible but as Jesus himself tells us:
It’s impossible with human beings, but not with God. All things are possible for God. Mark 10:27