Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Tuesday, October 8, 2012

Today’s text

Mark 10:17-21

He was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, 'Good master, 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 kill; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not give false witness; You shall not defraud; honor your father and mother.' And he said to him, 'Master, I have kept all these since my earliest days.' Jesus looked steadily at him and he was filled with love for him, and he said, 'You need to do one thing more. Go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.' But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.


Commentators have spilled a great deal of ink saying Jesus wasn’t demanding that it isn’t necessary to give everything away to follow him.

But maybe he was, at least to this man.

Perhaps Jesus read enough of his heart to know that accumulating and possessing wealth was at the center of his soul, and only radical surgery could free him from his addiction.

He called the man to radical reorientation of his vision, a new consciousness in which acquisition was no longer the purpose of living.

There is nothing to suggest the man was greedy. Had we known him we likely would have considered him just and decent, a well-off guy who was careful about living a just life and keeping God’s commandments.

But living the kingdom would always be second or third for him, just as it is for most Christians today, perhaps especially in developed Western countries.

Knowing God, loving God, worshiping and giving yourself to the purposes of God are spare time activities, done when there might be a spare moment.

It is too easy to distance oneself from this wealthy man, thinking that I … that we are not like him. But radical surgery is needed for all of us sometimes and most of us much of the time.

The shift in consciousness for which Jesus called is to seek him and the kingdom in all things, at all times. Knowing life is utter gift and the love of God is always ours, we need earn nothing but only respond to the central reality of life.

That reality is the wonder of God, the miracle of a love who makes worlds and places us among them to know and share the beauty and joy of being alive, human and aware of the gift of one’s life and all that is.

In modern life, a thousand forgettable, insignificant elements of living soak up our time, divert our attention and commandeer our souls so that this central reality no longer shapes our hearts and days.

Life is not about getting more, Jesus says, whether that is more education, money, status, success or amusements. Life is awareness of the giftedness of all things, the joy of receiving and sharing the love that emanates from the Infinite Source from which we receive our breath … every moment.

All that hinders such awareness makes us poor, no matter how much we’ve got.

Pr. David L. Miller

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