Weekly Wisdoms for the week of October 15, 2012
In Mark 10:17-22, we read the story of a man who asked Jesus, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" The man had followed all the commandments; however, Jesus told him, "One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus told him that he lacked "one thing", which is implied to be a relationship with God. The man had followed the commandments; however, he didn't know God. He knew the laws, but not the God who made the laws. Interestingly, that "one thing" is exactly the same as what David wanted (see Psalm 27:4).
In order to inherit eternal life, the man needed a personal relationship with Christ. However, Jesus knew that the man's money was holding him back. When Jesus told him to "sell everything" for the Kingdom, the man went away -- he turned his back on a relationship with God.
The reason that he turned his back on a relationship with God was because he owned so much money that, really, his money owned him. That is, he loved his money more than he loved God. His face fell and he went away sad, because he didn't want to give up his money. So he picked money (wealth and worldly possessions) instead of a relationship with God.
In this man we clearly see the principle that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). His treasure (that is, what he valued) was his money; so, when Jesus asked for his heart, the man refused the offer, and, as a result, he went away sad.
Are you so attached to your money and possessions that they have become more valuable to you than God? Do you want money so much that it dictates how you use your time? If so, God requires that you put Him first, but in exchange you get the most valuable thing in the world -- a relationship with God. Therefore, examine your life and make sure that you're not so hungry to own more money that your money owns you.
In the world we live in today, it is very easy to get so incredibly caught up in all of the demands that culture places on us that we don't have any time to spend with God.
However, the fact that so many things compete for every person's time isn't new to the world. Indeed, in Luke 10:38-42, we see the story of how two people responded to this same problem in two very different ways: As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. ...
We see that after Jesus entered the home, He evidently started teaching, and Mary, Martha's sister, stopped what she was doing and listened to Jesus. It's important to realize that Mary didn't know Jesus was coming, and so it certainly wasn't her plan to stop what she was doing and sit at His feet, listening to Him. However, Mary considered hearing from God so important that she altered her schedule to spend time with God.
... But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Here, we see that Martha responded very differently than her sister: she became really busy and caught up in what she was doing -- probably preparing a meal, cleaning the house, or something similar.
When Martha complained to Jesus about how Mary was using her time, Jesus responded: "Martha, Martha, ... you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
One sister was willing to drop everything in order to hear from God; the other was too busy with everyday life in order to spend time with God. Jesus makes it clear that the way Mary chose to use her time was better.
In your life, you need to be willing to use your time like Mary did. Don't let little things steal your time away from what's really important in life. You must realize that there is no lasting value to the "urgent" things many people often allow to interfere with what's truly important. It would not have mattered if Martha hadn't cleaned the house that day.
You need to be willing to let your schedule be altered if knowing God better requires it. Don't be like Martha and get so caught up in life's distractions that you miss Jesus.
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