Following Jesus calls us into what can be a harsh reality. It’s a calling to give up all that we have and all that we think we are. It’s a calling to rethink how we value the world around us and the things for which we pour out our lives.
When we weigh the cost of discipleship and the insistence that we leave houses and siblings and parents and sources of income for Jesus’ sake, we all too easily envision a life alone. Western people have transferred our deeply individualistic way of viewing and interacting with the world to our understanding of Christianity. But Jesus reminds us that our thoughts of “going it alone” are not God’s thoughts about the Christian life.
God provides us with a new family—the family of those who, like us, have chosen to forgo the world’s way of reckoning family, of accumulating wealth, of attaining long-term security. Church is not simply supposed to be the place to which we head off on Sunday morning. It is supposed to be the community that makes possible our obedience to the impossible calling of Jesus.
The gospel faces all sorts of challenges today from those who claim to follow Jesus. Some of the most severe, however, are not acts of moral failing but the day-to-day tasks of the church to create a community with an alternative value system that makes itself known in the riches of self-giving love.
Are we the kind of people who can be family for those who have left family for Jesus’ sake? Can we be the kind of people who can create an alternative economy so that the pursuit of wealth no longer defines us as persons or as the people of God?
Father, draw our lives into a new way of being that demonstrates to the world that your kingdom is the greatest source of life. Make us agents of self-giving love that will make possible for others the obedience that comes with accepting Jesus’ call to follow him. Amen.
Faithful people still have questions for God. Job wishes he could sit down with God and plead his case because he wants God to justify what has happened to him. The psalmist also feels abandoned by God and wonders why God is not coming to his aid. God can handle our questions. Job wanted an advocate, and Hebrews says that Jesus now fills that role for us. He is our great high priest and understands our sufferings, so we may boldly approach him for help. In Mark, Jesus deals with the challenge of money. It is a powerful force and can come between us and God if we cling to our resources instead of holding them loosely with thanksgiving for God’s provision.
Read Job 23:1-9, 16-17. When have you, like Eliphaz, attributed your own suffering or that of others to wickedness on your part or on theirs? How often do you find yourself blaming others for the situations in which they find themselves?
Read Psalm 22:1-15. How could your prayer life be more honest and transparent? What feelings do you hold back?
Read Hebrews 4:12-16. When God shines the spotlight on your soul, what does God see?
Read Mark 10:17-31. How do you square your “wealthy” life with Jesus’ call to discipleship?
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