Lenten Reflection - Mark 10:17-31 by Kat Duck
"17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” 28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:17-31
Oh, how this story hit home for me. We have just lived through the winning of the biggest lottery prize in history and we heard a great deal about it in the media. An extremely rich man is running for president, the internet is full of stories of how the rich and famous live (their homes, their engagement rings, their boats, cars, vacations and on and on). While I have never been what the world would consider rich, I am what the world would call comfortable. I know where my next meal is coming from; I have a roof over my head; a computer, a car, clothes, insurance and the other basic necessities of life.
And if you asked me to give it all up (even though “all” is not a great deal), I would be very reluctant to do it. My husband has been out of work, and I know the fatigue and stress of worrying about paying the bills and buying life’s necessities during those tedious stretches. After reflecting yet again on how the young man reacted to Jesus, “going away grieving because he had many possessions,” I can see myself bargaining with Jesus and asking, “Can’t I keep just a little of it so I can put food on the table?”
The disciples were perplexed when Jesus told them how hard it was to enter the kingdom of heaven. He told them if you’re willing to leave it all behind (family, friends, money) you will receive a hundredfold in this life and eternal life in the age to come. I ask myself all the time if I am willing to do that, and I am often as perplexed as the disciples by my answer. As much as I hate to admit it, it is usually “not yet” and then I go on with my daily work. When will I be ready? What will it take to trust Jesus with my Earthly life as well as my eternal life? I hope that my continued life of prayer, worship, study and community fellowship will help me answer these difficult questions. What are your questions about the relationship of wealth and eternal life? How do you think about your Earthly wealth and your heavenly rewards?