Saturday, January 29, 2011

What good thing must I do to get eternal life?

Mathew 19:16-24

"Now a man came up to Jesus and asked," Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
"Why do you ask me what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
"Which ones?" the man inquired.
Jesus replied,"Do not murder, do not committ adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and your mother, and love your neighbour as yourself."
"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Like most scripture I read again I learn more with each reading. In the past I took some delight in the 'fat cat rich guy' getting 'stuped by the Man". This time round I am a bit older and maybe even humbler. I can only hope.
Elsewhere Jesus says that if you have thought of adultery it's the same as if you have done it. His idea of goodness is pureness of thought, emotion and action. Mostly I think I'm okay if I don't get caught.
With that in mind I've failed all the commandments. Those I haven't actually done (yet) I certainly have thought of doing. As for 'loving my neighbor as myself', that's the hardest commandment of all.
Now equally I have experienced threats of murder, had adultery committed against me, been stolen from, had false testimony made against me and been thoroughly mistreated by my neighbors. I didn't like any of it any of the time.
Yet when I haven't honored my father and mother, for instance, I have not considered how this must feel to them. Instead I have usually been rather caught up in myself. I see actions against me as catastrophic whereas when I do anything against you I say you're 'making a mountain out of a molehill", "you're a drama queen', 'why can't you cut me a little slack', 'don't sweat it', 'whatever!"
The point here is the 'rich guy' was morally and ethically so much further ahead than I. He wasn't a murderous adulterous rogue liar and gossiper who'd shown disrespect for his parents and abused his neighbors. To those commandments he responds "All these I have kept".
This guy was a regular saint and Jesus said to him that all there was left for him to do was be like St. Francis and Mother Theresa. Give his wealth to the poor and follow Jesus.
It's very easy for me to think if I was a billionaire I'd give it up to follow Jesus. I find that future planning is far easier than doing something now. I also find the 'if' word saves me from any real consideration of my self and any changes I need to make now.
The fact is I'm not letting go of my Harley motorcycle or designer jeans without a fight. At least I'm not kidding myself. My self esteem is intact because I know my self worth. I'm no different from the rich man though clearly the scale is different. I want the rich to give up their wealth. Mpsty I want them to give it to me, while I won't give my extra shirt to the guy who has none.
Reading this passage today I see that I am way behind the rich man and have so much more work to do. Scripture can be irritating at times.

That said, I believe in Grace. The song Amazing Grace talks to the forgiving nature of my God. Thank God, God is Love and Mercy. On my own I am so very limited whereas with God all is possible. Today I will pray again that I may better serve my Lord and follow closer in his footsteps. Thank God for Grace.

Touch my Harley and I'll murder you, sell your body parts, and take your woman, do you hear me! Sorry Jesus.

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