21Jesus, 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.” 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Mark 10:21-22
Jesus gives challenging instructions to a man with many possessions. This man, who has tried to be a good person, wishes to inherit eternal life. Jesus says he lacks one particular thing and then gives the following instructions.
2. Sell what you own.
3. Give the money to the poor (he will have a deferred treasure in heaven)
4. Then, follow Jesus.
As a follower of Christs, what would happen if we actually did that?
My commute from North Indy to Risen Lord takes me by Wheeler Mission, a night shelter for those without secure housing. If it’s morning, I witness guests who are required to leave in the morning nearby. Some sit on the front steps. Some lay down with their hood covering their head, too weary to start their day. Others walk away down a lonely alley. Still others exchange words with other guests.
I wondered the other day as I drove by, what if I sold all that I owned, walked up to those men and gave them all the proceeds of my wealth?
What would they do with my wealth? What would happen to me? Would I be more free to follow Jesus?
Realistically, if I gave them my every last penny, I would be where they were. I would be reliant upon their generosity. I would be wandering to the Food Pantry or staying at Wheeler Mission with nowhere to lay my head down.
In the kingdom of heaven, the tables have turned. What if we had to be reliant on the good will of others? If the ones who have nothing were entrusted with the sum total of all that you own, what would their generosity look like? What would your poverty look like?
I can’t let us off the hook. Because Jesus gives these instructions with love, I think he meant it. However, like the man, you and I won’t follow Jesus’s instructions. However, by pausing to think about this ...
…maybe it will make us stop and consider what have we been given that we could never earn— God’s abundant grace, love and forgiveness.
…maybe, it will give us pause to consider our judgment of the poor.
…maybe, it will move us to be more generous in the ways God has equipped us.
What is the one thing you are lacking? What abundance of spirit or wealth is God calling you to share?
Praise to Christ who challenges us to move from our stagnant places of comfort to discomfort so that we might see our neighbor as Jesus sees them and to embrace loving as He loves.