Tag Archives: Mark 10:17-31

What Do I Have to Do?

What do I have  to do
to follow you?
To be with you?
To be a part of all you are doing?

Look at all I do,
all my good deeds,
my worthy actions,
I always do the right thing.

But,
do I do them for the right reason?
Is my heart and soul in it,
or just wanting to be seen
to do the right thing?

What are my motives?

And more importantly
what are the blockages in my life?

What holds me back
from doing more,
being more,
giving more?

What am I holding on to
so tightly
that I can’t let go
and because I can’t let go
I can’t give all of me?

That is what I have to do.
To make sure nothing
and no one
comes between me and God;
nothing is more important than him

then
my giving will be free
and I will be open
to receive all God has to offer me.

That is what I have to do.

Lord,
I might not think I am rich,
but I have so much.
Stuff
that I gather around me
and allow to become important,
barriers I create
that stop love getting through
– both ways,
habits I hold on to
that make me unable to see
another way,
the high horse I climb
where I can no longer reach
and no one can reach me.

Lord,
these
and all the barriers I have built in my life,
I invite you to take,
to smash,
to free me

that I may give
and receive
and know more of you

then be able to give more of you

Mark 10:17-31(CEV)

A Rich Man

17 As Jesus was walking down a road, a man ran up to him. He knelt down, and asked, “Good teacher, what can I do to have eternal life?”

18 Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. 19 You know the commandments. ‘Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Do not cheat. Respect your father and mother.’”

20 The man answered, “Teacher, I have obeyed all these commandments since I was a young man.”

21 Jesus looked closely at the man. He liked him and said, “There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me.”

22 When the man heard Jesus say this, he went away gloomy and sad because he was very rich.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “It’s hard for rich people to get into God’s kingdom!” 24 The disciples were shocked to hear this. So Jesus told them again, “It’s terribly hard[a] to get into God’s kingdom! 25 In fact, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God’s kingdom.”

26 Jesus’ disciples were even more amazed. They asked each other, “How can anyone ever be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.”

28 Peter replied, “Remember, we left everything to be your followers!”

29 Jesus told him:

You can be sure that anyone who gives up home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or land for me and for the good news 30 will be rewarded. In this world they will be given a hundred times as many houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and pieces of land, though they will also be mistreated. And in the world to come, they will have eternal life. 31 But many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first.

What Do I Need to Do?

We went caving once – I know, difficult to believe, even I find it difficult to believe – how did I manage to get talked into that?  There is photographic evidence, but I’m not sure the internet is ready for that!!  But this gives you the idea

Martyn B [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Anyway, the thing about caving is, if you want to achieve the aim, get to where you want to go, you have to squeeze through the smallest of gaps.  There is no room to spare.

Mark 10:17-31

A Rich Man

17 As Jesus was walking down a road, a man ran up to him. He knelt down, and asked, “Good teacher, what can I do to have eternal life?”

18 Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. 19 You know the commandments. ‘Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Do not cheat. Respect your father and mother.’”

20 The man answered, “Teacher, I have obeyed all these commandments since I was a young man.”

21 Jesus looked closely at the man. He liked him and said, “There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me.”

22 When the man heard Jesus say this, he went away gloomy and sad because he was very rich.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “It’s hard for rich people to get into God’s kingdom!” 24 The disciples were shocked to hear this. So Jesus told them again, “It’s terribly hard to get into God’s kingdom! 25 In fact, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God’s kingdom.”

26 Jesus’ disciples were even more amazed. They asked each other, “How can anyone ever be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.”

28 Peter replied, “Remember, we left everything to be your followers!”

29 Jesus told him:

You can be sure that anyone who gives up home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or land for me and for the good news 30 will be rewarded. In this world they will be given a hundred times as many houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and pieces of land, though they will also be mistreated. And in the world to come, they will have eternal life. 31 But many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first.

This man wants to know what he has to do to receive eternal life.

He is a man who apparently has everything he could need – he is rich, and he is obeying all the commandments – at least he thinks he is. Just one thing then, Jesus says – sell all your things and give all you have to the poor.

I don’t think this is a general principle, that we all have to give away everything we have; but for this man, it was the one thing that was stopping him, the thing he needed to put down if he was going to get what he wanted from life, to get to the place he wanted to. To get as near to God as he clearly wanted to be.

So the challenge for us – is there something in my life that is holding me back?  From God?  From life in all it’s fullness?  Is there something I need to put down, that I can make it to where I need to be?  Are we bringing to God our all, or are we distracted somewhere else?

I was struck by a recent comment on this passage on Scripture Union’s excellent WordLive resource, suggesting that a camel going through the eye of a needle was such a preposterous suggestion, that it was just Jesus was just having a good laugh – getting into the kingdom is not something we, rich or poor, can do.  Whoever we are, it’s about God acting and receiving us.  We can do our bit, make sure nothing is getting in the way – the rest is God’s work

Lord,

I too want to have eternal life,

I want to be as close to you as I can possibly be.

Yet there are things in my life

that I let get in the way,

things that I hug close to me

so there is no room for you,

things I carry

that stop me going where I need to go.

Today,

I lay them down before you,

and ask you to take me

and lead me

in the places you have ready for me

What Do I Have To Do?

When you move to a new area, there are lots of new things you have to register at – a doctors, a dentists, schools, the library…  You spend a lot of time asking,

What do I have to do to join?

And you soon discover there are various pieces of information you need to supply, proof of where you live, who you are, where you’ve come from.  Joining something new can be quite precise and a certain degree of hard work.  And then when you start going somewhere new, you have to find out the rules of the new place, which are probably different to where you were before – how to pay dinner money, how to get a repeat prescription, how many books you can take out…

So, a man comes to Jesus and he wants to know what he has to do.

A Rich Man

17As Jesus was walking down a road, a man ran up to him. He knelt down, and asked, “Good teacher, what can I do to have eternal life?”

18Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. 19You know the commandments. `Do not murder. Be faithful in marriage. Do not steal. Do not tell lies about others. Do not cheat. Respect your father and mother.’ ”

20The man answered, “Teacher, I have obeyed all these commandments since I was a young man.”

21Jesus looked closely at the man. He liked him and said, “There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me.”

22When the man heard Jesus say this, he went away gloomy and sad because he was very rich.

23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “It’s hard for rich people to get into God’s kingdom!” 24The disciples were shocked to hear this. So Jesus told them again, “It’s terribly hard to get into God’s kingdom! 25In fact, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God’s kingdom.”

26Jesus’ disciples were even more amazed. They asked each other, “How can anyone ever be saved?”

27Jesus looked at them and said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.”

28Peter replied, “Remember, we left everything to be your followers!”

29Jesus told him:

You can be sure that anyone who gives up home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or land for me and for the good news 30will be rewarded. In this world they will be given a hundred times as many houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and pieces of land, though they will also be mistreated. And in the world to come, they will have eternal life. 31But many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first.

Jesus tells him the “rules”, the expected behaviour – the Ten Commandments.  The man knows all that, he’s been doing it for years.  But he recognises in Jesus, in the new thing that God is doing, that there is more.  Just following the rules is no longer going to be enough, those rules need to touch the whole of life and effect behaviour.

But he’s not ready for what Jesus tells him,

Go away, and whatever you possess – sell it, and give it to the poor (v 21, Tom Wright, p 98)

At that point the man walks off sadly.  He cannot do what Jesus asks of him.  His problem is not that he is wealthy, but that his wealth means more to him that anything Jesus can offer.

Jesus does not ask all who follow him to give up their possessions, but he does go to the heart of what is more important to us than him.

As we journey through Lent, as we have focussed on God, is there something we are holding to more important than him?  Something that if he asked us to give it up, we wouldn’t be able to?  Not because God wants to take things away from us, but because he wants us to have room for all he is going to give us.

Is there something that you know is coming between you and God?  Something that he needs you to give up, that your focus may be more fully on him?

Lord,

I have so much “stuff” in my life.

Some of it is really helpful,

but some of it just gets in the way.

May I come before you,

in honesty,

and consider what I have that I put before you

and before others.

Lord may the things of my life

never be a stumbling block

that causes me to miss opportunities

with you and for you.

This year, I am again following the BigRead using Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark.  I’ll reflect here – if you’re following it too, or even if you’re not, please share with me.