Mark 10:17 As (Jesus) was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’ ” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 Jesus, 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.” 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
In the first part of Mark 10 we read about Jesus telling his disciples to allow children to come to him. He then says, “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it”. A child in ancient Israel had no material resources, no standing in the community, no authority of any kind. They came to Jesus with nothing and were welcomed as inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
On the other hand we have this wealthy man who is the opposite of the children. Whereas the children had nothing, this man had everything. Being rich meant more than just having a fat bank account, but created an entire identity of access, privilege and standing in the community. So when Jesus challenged the man to “sell what you own” it essentially meant the man would become a new person altogether. He would lose everything of value he’d known before Jesus, but would gain the eternal Kingdom. The man said no.
“How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
I identify more with the rich man than with the children. I’m not suggesting my situation today compares with that of the rich man in our story, but there are similarities. This morning my mind goes to an important question. What is the Lord asking of me so that I too might experience the Kingdom of God in greater fullness? What do I need to let go of so that I might gain something much greater? Where am I resisting? Lord, give me grace to say “yes” to your invitation when I want to say “no”. Amen.