Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 7, 2020
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Mark 10:21-22, NKJV
There is a grief that follows the loss or potential loss of great possessions—the loss is especially compounded if the possessions possess the owner. The great possession could be a grandchild, a child, a parent, a job, a house, a relationship, an opportunity, a material asset or wealth. The depth of the pain associated with the possession can be measured by the depth of love ascribed. So deep is the pain tied to the deep love of a loved one, or tragic is the loss of a job labored in for years, only to be snatched away in a matter of days. It’s at this very inflection point of pain that the Lord’s love lingers most. Here in the hurt of real loss or potential loss of a great possession, we have to ask ourself, Do I love my possessions more than Jesus’ love and call to follow Him?
A disciplined, ambitious, intelligent, religious and wealthy young man wanted to make sure he was in good standing with God, so he asked Jesus what he needed to do. Jesus, in a loving response, asked the young man to give up what he loved most—to love and follow Jesus. But the young man grieved, because he would gladly follow Jesus, if he could follow him under one condition. He would follow Jesus, if he could hold on to his earthly treasures and not be bothered with storing up treasure in heaven. The young man grieved for he did not want to exchange his gold for God.
“I don’t cling to my life for my own sake. The only value I place on my life is that I may finish my race, that I may fulfill the ministry that Jesus our King has given me, that I may gladly tell the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24, The Voice).
There is grief either way. There is the grief of losing the Lord’s intimate encounter of love in exchange for the lingering love of a great possession. And there is grief from letting go of a great possession and embracing the most satisfying love of God. The first grief does not get us to God, it only isolates us from love and we stay stuck in our sorrow. But the second grief of giving up something or someone to follow Jesus and embrace His love, brings healing to our broken heart. Life will always include sorrow, but our heart is comforted, as we set our affections above for Christ to care for us. The words of Jesus when obeyed, lead us back to a healing path of joy.
How do we keep possessions from possessing us? We hold them with an open hand—we give them away. Especially relationships. Since God owns everything, our possessions are not really ours—they are His. When the Lord Jesus Christ fully possesses us, we don’t possess anything. So, when our house floods or burns down—we ask, “Lord how can I help rebuild your house?” When a child strays away from our love—we pray, “Lord show me how to love your child?” When a job goes away, or a relationship walks away—we lament, “Lord what is your next season of service for me?” Or, “Help me let go and trust her with you.” Grief over great possessions is comforted and healed when what we have—we give to God, and we follow Jesus. “For even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces, My love won’t walk away from you, my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart. The God who has compassion on you says so” (Isaiah 54:10, The Message).
Precious Jesus, help me let go of anything in the grip of my hands, so I can embrace and hold your love in both of my hands, in your powerful name I pray, Amen.
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