Serving God with your heart


          Now as he was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

          So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good but One, that is, God.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

          And he answered and said to him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept since from my youth.”

          Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you still lack:  Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven:  and come, take up the cross and follow me.”

          But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions (Mark 10: 17-22.)


          (Disclaimer:  IS JESUS CLAIMING THAT HE IS NOT GOOD?  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  In other portions of scriptures Jesus challenges others to point out some sin in his life.  He allows others to worship him and doesn’t stop them.  He also claims to be God in the flesh, saying, “He who has seen me has seen the father…I and my father are one.”) When we want to manipulate someone we may often use flattery like the man in this scripture does when he comes to Jesus and calls him ‘Good Teacher.’ Making a flattering statement is a way of controlling someone’s response.  Manipulation begins with flattery.  Here is a man who comes to Jesus seeking acceptance, approval, and a certainty about his Godliness and his eternal life.  He begins with flattery. He came to Jesus, not seeking a healing or a miracle, but rather he was seeking a ‘thumbs-up.’  He wanted peace of mind with as little sacrifice as possible.  This man wanted something from Jesus, but didn’t realize that Jesus was going to want something from him.  Jesus sees the man’s heart and identifies the obstacle that will come between the man and his ability to be used by God.  For this man, his wealth was the thing he was trusting in.  The one thing that he was unwilling to give up, was the one thing God asked him to give up.  The man valued his wealth above God himself.  He sadly leaves Jesus, realizing that he is unwilling to change, unwilling to give up the thing he prized the most.

          Today, many people are seeking to keep the things that give them comfort, and still somehow find comfort in God.  There is something called ‘The Seeker Friendly’ movement.  The man in this parable would have fit right in had Jesus been preaching a seeker friendly message.  In order to make Christianity popular, many have made the path very wide indeed.  Many have made for themselves their own Jesus.  They have decided to only preach the parts of scripture that will allow the members of their church to feel good about themselves, because God forbid, they might lose some members who cut large checks.  Instead of understanding that God is going to ask the members of the church to sacrifice something, the church leaders will sift through the scriptures and exclude those that speak of sacrifice and repentance; or worse yet, some churches have gotten rid of bringing up sin all together.  They say things like ‘God wants to bless you financially.’  In our nation today most people are confused about what God is requiring from them.  The line that seperates what it means to be walking with God and what it means to not be walking with God has been blurred.  The life of a follower of Jesus is not an easy life.  Many have tried to change God, much like this man attempted to manipulate Jesus to get the approval he wanted, but God does not change to meet us, we change to meet God.  This is the hard message, but the true, and most rewarding and refreshing message.  Jesus is asking us to give up our lives for him.  Not just a small portion, but the entire thing.  The thing that we hang on too, the thing we struggle to keep for ourselves is the very thing that is keeping us from moving forward with him.  And in the end if we don’t get it right, it will wind up making us walk away from God in the same way that the man in this scripture walked away from God.  Ask God to reveal that thing to you, and he will.  Then it’s your choice whether or not you lay it down and follow the Lord completely, or whether you choose to keep that thing for yourself and walk away from God.  The consequences of that choice will be harsh, or they will be rewarding, but the choice is each of ours to make.

“Lord Heavenly Father we ask and pray that You would reveal what it is that is keeping us from serving You with our whole hearts.  Father, show us the truth, and convict us of the error of our ways.  Help us father; remove that obstacle from our pathway that we can serve You completely and totally.  We love You Father, we praise You and we thank You, and we ask all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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