MORNING MEDITATION

“Saved By Faith And Commitment To The Lord Jesus Christ!”

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“Saved By Faith And Commitment To The Lord Jesus Christ!”(Mt.19:16-26).
A rich young man came to Jesus and asked, “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus told him only God is good. And that obeying the commandments is the way to enter life. The man wanted to know which of the commandments? Jesus listed six commandments, four of which are “do nots” and two “dos.” The man claimed he had kept all those commandments, and added, “What do I still lack?”
“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven…’
The disciples “were greatly astonished” at what Jesus said, and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
There was a time when this story was a fashionable quote for poor Christians. It was also a motivational story for monks and nuns who took the vow of poverty as one of the conditions for monastic life. The vow of poverty is a promise made to God that one would renounce temporal goods so as to follow Christ. One may not hold property or monetary accounts in one’s personal name; thus avoiding the accumulation of unnecessary wealth that could distract one from the mission.
This story is not also an objection to wealth accumulation, because Jesus depended on wealthy disciples to support his ministry.
The man’s problem was that he was hypocritically already standing on a moral high ground. He had kept all the commandments which Jesus listed. Surely, if Jesus had included, “Do not covet,” he could not have claimed to have kept that commandment too. He was comfortable with the sin of covetousness! And that’s our crossroad choice today. We choose which commandments to obey and remain comfortable with the ones that soothe our egos.
Besides, wealth is transient. Covetousness and hoarding has never benefited anybody and will never benefit anybody. We are only custodians of even the possesions we think belong to us!
There comes a time when we look at all the wealth which we have accumulated and wonder whether the right thing to do would not have been selling them and giving to the poor!
Talking about selling and giving to the poor, the last time this text came up in our lectionary, a Christian raised the question, “Why did Jesus not ask the man to straightaway give his possession to the poor, instead of selling them before giving?” Possibly because poor people cannot manage huge possessions.
Besides, only wealthy people could buy such possessions. Was Jesus supposing that this man should sell his possesions to fools who do not want to enter life? We can dare suggest that it was only a figure of speech; on the grounds that the man had “great wealth.” It may have taken him the timespan if Jesus’ ministry to sell his possesions.
Our take home message: Often people ask for criticisms but they are looking for praise. The man asked Jesus, “What good thing must I do…?” He probably thought Jesus would praise him for keeping the commandments. Jesus told him, there is only one who is good. That person is God. God is Good and all Good emanates from him. To do a good thing is to follow Christ.
Salvation does not come through doing good things. “Salvation is a gift of God’s grace received through faith in Christ.” Wealth and commitment should not stand on the way of those who seek eternal life.
We may think that the conditions for salvation is a tall order, but since it is the work of grace, it is very possible with God. We accept it in faith and as a complement we now do the works that are pleasing to the LORD. By the way, each person’s day comes when s/he leaves everything and follow death.
Prayer: Spirit Divine take away from me all that block my path on the journey of faith. Amen!
Have a blessed day! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.

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