Questions Day 17 (3/1/13)
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There are no shortcuts
Matthew 19:16 -22
16 Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
I remember the words of a clergy friend Dr. John Ogden who was asked to pray at the opening services of the Annual Conference Session in the North Texas Conference hosted by Custer Road United Methodist Church. "Lord forgive us, our pantries are full and our hearts are empty. Amen."
John had a knack for saying much with few words. Jesus is questioned by the young man and with each reply Jesus turns the question he is being asked back to the one asking the question.
The story is told that upon his deathbed PT Barnum asked for a Bible. This was a surprise to those present and one person asked, "Why do you want a Bible now Mr. Barnum?" To which Barnum replied, "Looking for a loophole my boy, looking for a loophole." The problem is that this is only a story! Barnum died in his sleep at home on April 7, 1891, so there's little chance that this story is true of the founder of the phrase "There's a sucker born every minute".
There are no loopholes. Notice Jesus tells the man "if you want to be perfect", redirecting the focus to what possessed the man. While scholars debate the meaning of this response, most agree that Jesus knew that the man's possessions were more important to him than his pursuit of eternal life.
Is there something more important to you than following Christ? Something you can't follow Christ without bringing with you?