Giving It All Away
Read Mark Chapter 10
Mk 10:21 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.”
We have looked at this passage in other devotions, but today’s subject has a different focus than the other times we studied it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Such a concept is hard to fathom in our society of “me, me, me.” Even in Christian circles we have embraced the idea that the Christian life is supposed to go smoothly, with few difficulties. Some church leaders teach that our God is one who will not refuse us anything we pray for, in the way of health, wealth, and a smooth sailing way of life. The New Testament is full of examples that deny that fact. Every New Testament Christian had an extremely difficult life.
There were persecutions, beheadings, and stonings, just to name a few of the difficulties in their lives. One of the things which Christians commonly pursue, and believe that God always provides, is a wealth of material possessions. The young man who is the center of this passage was asked to give it all up. He already possessed great treasure, which Jesus asked him to abandon. Check out Paul’s attitude toward this subject:
Phil 4:12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Our lives are not about what we possess or how comfortable are our lives. This life serves one main purpose. Life is simply preparation for eternity. We could name some other valid purposes, but most of them would fall under the umbrella of preparation for eternity. Serving and loving God, serving and loving others, and sharing our needs with others are important life’s purposes, but all of them are part of our preparing for eternity. Consider some other passages which validate this idea:
Ro 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Ro 8:36 As it is written: “For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
Mt 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.
It sure sounds to me like we are called to die. I am sure the rich young man in the passage from Mark would agree. Naturally, we cannot close without an application to SSA. Sexual pleasures, whether they are hetero or homo, are of far less value than the material possessions that the young man was asked to give away. If we “die,” we will live. We will discover that dying to self is a truly good thing. Most of us will realize that sometime in this life. We won’t have to wait until we reach Heaven.
Prayer: What a great promise You have given us; that we have a future which cannot be adequately described by human ways! Help us to always realize that and live our lives confidently in that regard. You are incredibly merciful and loving.