Half my life I lived like this man, saying: “What good thing must I do to reach eternal life?” (Mt. 19:16)
Within my mind, I figured the answer was, “Kelly, fix everything you’re doing wrong.” Jesus responds in a similar fashion to this man, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have…” (Mt. 19:21)
If I want to be perfect, go and offer more play time to my children.
If I want to be perfect, go and make better dinners.
If I want to be perfect, go to the store and buy tableware for get-togethers.
If I want to be perfect, go and find God and stop feeling guilty.
If I want to be perfect, go to Africa or India and be a missionary.
What do you need to do to be perfect?
What are you constantly criticizing yourself about?
Jesus goes on, “It’s harder for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” (Mt. 19:24)
I know a person who feels so guilty about money. Their money makes them feel like they’ve been caught red-handed and God will slap them for having it. They nearly hate themselves for it. I am sure, they’ll probably hand it all out the very second before their last breath, just to make up for the guilt of holding on to it so long. Just to make sure God knew, they didn’t really need it after all. I think they’ve missed the point.
But, who am I to judge? I am guilty too. I am just as rich…
I am rich in my self-sufficiency.
I am rich with my desire to manage daily happenings.
I am rich in comfort.
I am rich with my judgments of others.
I am rich with own opinions.
I am rich with the desire to have earthly security.
I am hardly poor and deeply in need of Christ. I am hardly poor and wanting the fullness of him in every moment. I am hardly poor and wanting less of my flesh and more of his Spirit.
I am so rich. So rich, I feel Jesus might not like me anymore. You’ve ever been there? Feeling so off course that you’ll land shipwrecked and stuck frostbitten in Antartica without a God to save you?
Jesus’ disciples finally asked, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus said, “This is impossible for human beings, but for God, everything is possible.” (Mt. 19:26)
And, there it is. Like the ending to an epic movie – in sweeps the hero, the rescuer, the knight who saves the day – it is Jesus. He knows what we are without him is — ruined. But, he also knows, who we are with him is – rescued.
Jesus knew we’d never be perfect.
Jesus knew we all act – rich.
And this is the point. Jesus’ on-earth arrival points to the fact – there is none perfect, nor rich, except Jesus. Yet, in the gap of our wealth, we have available the wealth of Jesus. When we accept it, we intercept spiritual riches earth could never muster.
Jesus hands out what we believed the world never could. Jesus changes what we figured was written in stone. Jesus blasts through barriers, even when the barriers appears like our own wretchedness.
Underneath everything, Savior saves; he brings the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, not to enforce Christian guilt, but to relieve it.
Inhale. Jesus knows failings; he releases them in the sight of his grace. And, what we are left with is not only an amazing ending, but an amazing here and now. A place we can rest.
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