Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost October 11, 2015
In one classic episode of the TV show The Simpsons, the father, Homer, reaching for a soda can, gets his arm caught in a vending machine. Hilarity ensues as he tries to free himself, and even drags the vending machine around for a while. In the end, as some firefighters look to free him, they decide to cut off his arm to set him free. At the last moment, one of the firefighters asks, “Wait, you aren’t still holding onto the soda can, are you?” Sure enough, he has never been able to let go of the can, and the moment he does, he is free!
We laugh at this idea. How could anyone be so unwilling to let go? Who would be willing to drag around all that extra weight of a vending machine for something so fleeting as a 12-ounce soda? But aren’t we all like this in some ways? Stop for a moment and think of the thing you would be hard pressed to give up, that you don’t want to let go of.
In Mark 10 we meet the rich young man willing to give up everything . . . except money. Money here isn’t the point, however. It is that his commitment isn’t total, and that he doesn’t believe the promise Christ gives to reward us 100 times over, now, in this lifetime, if we are just willing to commit totally to following him. Being willing to travel on mission teams, giving up time at home, God has given me dozens of places I can call home around the world.
What we see as great sacrifice, God sees as a chance to be free! What is your soda can? What will you look back on and laugh that there was a time you couldn’t let it go?
Justin Rabbach, director of mission engagement, Board of World Mission