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.
The question ask by the young man should sound familiar to us. This same question was asked of the teacher of law on All Saints Sunday, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus told him, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind." We embraced this answer as the heart of the gospel; the chief desire of all those who follow Jesus. Today thou, the answer to the young man is more specific and causes us to pause. It seems that Jesus, who knows all about this man, knows the part of his life that he is holding back from the Lord. The way he manages his resources has somehow become a barrier in his trust and obedience to Jesus. Jesus invites him to be set free to a new and eternal life by surrendering his resources for God's use. Specifically, Jesus invites the man to have a front row seat in Jesus' healing and teaching ministry. We can be disappointed and saddened by his response to the Lord's challenge. We learn that "his face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth." This really does make Jesus' point. Jesus promises as we love God with all we are and all we have "we shall live". We shall live a life of abundance and miracles as God meets our daily needs and does amazing things through our gifts. On the flip side, the areas of our life that we hold back from God, the relationships, the resources, the business affairs, these will become areas of sorrow.
This is an important week in the lives of our church families. This week we each, as individuals and as a church community, hear the challenge to consider our financial resources and how we are called to give to the ministry of the church. The invitation to commit to giving is an invitation to surrender to God's leadership and care. The act of giving is an act of faith as we trust God to in tern provide for the needs of our family. This Wednesday (or sometime in the next few days) we invite each family to prayerfully consider how you are loving the Lord with your financial resources. Consider how you can make loving God, through the ministry of the church, a priority in your life. We trust, because we have witnessed, that as we step out in faith to give as Jesus invites us to give, we will witness amazing provision and we will grow in faith.
We are praying for you, your discernment, and God's provision.
Pastor Jenny and Pastor Scott