Mark: The Rich and the Kingdom of God

Read: Mark 10:17-31

The reward for following Jesus cannot be understated.

The risk associated with putting Jesus first might require all we have on earth.

Am I willing to let go of everything? I know the right answer, but I have to wonder as I read through the encounter with this man of great wealth.

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.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Mark 10:21-22

I’ve read this many times. Most of the time I focused on the last sentence; today I’m focused on the first.

He was on His way somewhere when this man intercepted Him and begged for his attention. Jesus stopped, asked the a preparatory question about the commandments, then read the man’s heart, and He looked at him and loved him.

Today’s Seth Godin blog ended with this:

People might hear what you say, but they always remember what you do.Seth Godin

John Mark made a point to tells us what Jesus did, the love and compassion with which He spoke the words. Those who witnessed the interaction just out of earshot could see by the look on the faces what was happening. Jesus wanted so much for this man to let go of earthly possessions. He wasn’t taunting him, just pointing out the anchor in his heart.

The disciples were amazed and even more amazed at Jesus’s teaching here. They wondered if anyone could be saved. When we stop and think for a moment, it’s easy to understand their confusion. All their lives they’ve been taught to follow the rules, keep the commandments and a hundred other rules to please God. They honored and respected their elders, saw the apparent blessings God had bestowed on those who strictly kept the law.

Jesus changes everything and challenges us to a level that’s beyond our ability, outside our reach. It is, in fact, impossible for us to attain. We cannot work our way to heaven.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

When we let go of all that ties us to this world and rely on God, all things are possible.

My friend, Travis Watson, sent me a quote from a book last night that provides a rather modern example of this ancient truth. This is the last paragraph of the letter found from a young pastor in Zimbabwe who was martyred for his faith in Jesus:

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till he stops me. And, when he comes for his own, he will have no problem recognizing me…my banner will be clear!

With those words, this young pastor left his mortal presence on earth. I’m confident he received a hundreds times more than this present age has to offer, even more, he received Jesus.

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