To be a follower of Jesus is not without sacrifice. When we truly listen and follow Jesus, sometimes our reality has to shift. For the rich religious leader in our story, Jesus’ words rocked his world, the world as he knew it. How has Jesus rocked your world? Has he asked you to do something totally outside your comfort zone? Have you obeyed?
Imagine you are wealthy and have every comfort available to man at your disposal. There is nothing you can’t have so long as money can buy it. Now imagine that you have to give it all up. You’d have to be pretty sure the exchange was worth it. For life forever with Jesus. Priceless.
But we don’t all have limitless wealth. Many of us are existing on a shoestring budget, living paycheck to paycheck. All the more reason for us to rely on Jesus and follow him. We are promised riches in heaven. Many times it’s the treasures on earth that take away from our reliance on Jesus. Our gadgets and worldly items separate us from our savior. That’s why Jesus was so blunt with the rich man. We have to set all that aside to be truly open to having a relationship with Jesus.
For those that have accumulated a lot of wealth and nice things, those items begin to define them. When we let stuff define who we are, our identity in Christ takes a hit. To be Christlike requires us to be humble with a servant heart. It’s not impossible for the rich to be followers, but as Jesus says, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! And a few lines later, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” There is hope for all of us, rich, poor or in between.
Of course, Jesus’ own disciples were quick to point out that they had left everything to follow him. They were assured they would have a place in the kingdom, a reward for their faithfulness. The riches they gave up on earth would be repaid to them along with eternal life.
It can be hard to part with things, I know firsthand having brought so much with us to Mexico. Granted, we weren’t on a pilgrimage to follow Jesus, but we probably should have been more of that mindset. Our son just moved abroad, and all his earthly possessions fit on a luggage rack. God will provide for the needs that matter.
We should all do a little soul searching today. What is the baggage (stuff) of our life that Jesus would want us to leave behind so we are ready to follow him? Are we ready to let go and let God have control?
Let’s pray. Lord forgive me for holding on to things that really don’t matter. There are so many items that would be expensive or hard to replace. Why do I feel attached to those things. When I leave this world I will leave them behind. Why are they so important now? Forgive my selfish, greedy heart. Help me to set aside those desires and focus more on listening for your voice. There are so many distractions that keep me stuck. Thank you for loving me despite these faults and weaknesses. Make me strong. In Jesus’ name. Amen.