Thursday, March 14th
Lack: to stand in need of ; suffer from the absence or deficiency of
Mark 10:17-22 (NRSV)
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, 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 murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Jesus knows this man will enter the heavenly kingdom after his earthly death. Not because the rich man tries to be a good person by keeping the commandments and doing what is right. Not because he reverently kneels before Jesus and asks, “What must I do…?” Not because he recognizes Jesus as One from God while so many others have not. Jesus knows what the man can not yet know… that only because of Jesus, the man will inherit eternal life, whether he is perfect or not.
But Jesus loves this man so much that he wants him to experience kingdom living right away, while the man is still living his earthly life. He tells the man the one thing that is keeping him from fully experiencing the kingdom in his present time. He must sell his possessions and follow Jesus. Ironically, the rich man lacks heavenly treasures because he has an excess of worldly treasures!
Jesus loves and wants all of us to experience kingdom living here and now, too. In this story, he is showing us how our lack of heavenly treasures stems from our excessive worldly treasures! In seeking and keeping worldly enticements, we miss out on all of the heavenly treasures and blessings available to us. Here are a few examples…
The excess of seeking financial security keeps us from the blessing of seeking reliance on God.
The excess of material possessions keeps us from the precious gift of simplicity.
The excess of greed keeps us from the blessing of a kingdom where no one is in need.
The excess of social media keeps us distracted from the still, small voice of God.
The excess of full schedules keeps us from the treasure of much-needed Sabbath rest.
The excess of pride and self-reliance keeps us from the blessing of humble trust in God.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). Isn’t this so true? Jesus told the man, “You lack one thing…” What would be the one kingdom treasure that Jesus would say we lack? If we each do an honest review of our own earthly excesses, we will find our answer. The earthly treasures that take the most of our time and attention (and maybe even obsession) cause us to miss out on the opposite treasures- the heavenly joys. Too much earth leads to our lack of heaven.
*All definitions are excerpted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
Photo credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash