"And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’’ And he said to him, ‘Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.’ And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
This passage is tearing me apart. It’s always that one thing…that one thing that you’re not willing to give up in order to follow Christ. For me? Job security? Fine. Financial security? Sure. Maybe a luxurious standard of living? Check. The best community ever? I’m okay with that too. Family? And suddenly…”disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had
great possessions” a great love for the family that has poured so much into him.
More and more, ever since I had first brought up the possibility of doing missions or ministry, I feel like things have been getting worse. Hurtful things have been said, and I feel like with every vicious and smashing word, it’s as if nails are being hammered into a door…the door that once led to home. It’s so tempting to think of what could have been…what life could have been like if I had just never brought this up with my parents. Where I would be now if I had put off the call that I had heard from the Lord. Oh, things would be so simple. Things would be so easy. And then I have to shake my head and slap myself a bit to remind myself that that’s only the enemy whispering poisonous, sweet words into my longing ears.
But I confess, it’s so hard. It’s like doing that last suicide in basketball practice and you just want to quit. It’s so tempting to make up some excuse or jog it halfheartedly, until you see your teammate next to you sprinting as hard as he can and it motivates you to do the same. The difference is that where I once could run to the support group that had always been there, I now find them standing on the opposite side of the fence. Even if my parents had only really seen my fellowship as kind of a club and church as kind of a social place to hang out, they supported me in exploring my faith and taking upon leadership. And now…what do I do when that support has vanished? Oh my God, please please please do not delay because there’s absolutely no way that I can walk through this on my own.
Even the smallest things now seem to turn into bitter fights. The hurt that comes from those who you trust the most makes you feel the most raw. And away goes that hammer, meticulously and menacingly sealing shut another part of that door, with every new pound sounding like the judgment of a gavel. What have I tried so hard the past couple years for? What happened to all the work and effort I had made to show the love of Christ to my parents and reach out to them? It seems almost as if all of that has been made irrelevant now. And so again, I realize that I can’t rely on my own strength with this. There’s no freaking way. Geez, talk about God answering a prayer for learning humility.
But maybe it has to be this way. No, I know it has to be this way and I just don’t want to believe it. Deep down within my heart somewhere, there’s a grain of truth hidden. There’s a small speck of light that’s peering around the deepest and darkest corner that knows Jesus’s way is the best way. I can’t do this on my own, and Abba knows that. There’s nothing He would ask me to do that He hasn’t done Himself. Jesus Christ, my perfect brother, left his perfect home completely behind for my sake. He knows, and He walks with me. It’s the only thing I can cling to now. Sure, it may be easier for the camel to go through the eye of a needle, but man, the world better recognize that I’m going to be that camel. That sounded dumb. Oh well.
And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:26-27)