October 10, 2021: With God…

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

With God . . .

Contemporary culture tells us that if we want to live fulfilled lives, we need to set goals and achieve them. This sounds reasonable, yet our existence, bursting with obstacles, presents a challenge. So we get busy trying to overcome them. We are told that our failures are only temporary, and success stays the course. We hear clichés like “what hurts us only makes us stronger.”

Yet our Gospel story today is not about the “Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat” and how we think about those realities in conventional terms. Rather, it concerns what to do when we actually achieve all of what we thought was important and still feel something empty inside.

When the rich young ruler confronted Jesus, whether he knew it or not, he asked a question of cosmic significance (inheriting eternal life). He had worked hard and been successful on many different levels. He had done all that he had known to do. Yet his expectations did not fulfill his reality. Jesus hinted, “Have faith in what you know”; remember the directives.

Wanting a fuller explanation, the young ruler asked him, “Which ones?” The Master responded, closing, “Honor your mother and father, and treat your neighbor as yourself.” The young ruler replied, “Well, I have done all of these. What do I still lack?”

Then Jesus lowered the boom. He told the young ruler to sell everything. Give to the poor! Hearing this, the young man bowed his head and retreated, “for he had many possessions.” The disciples seeing this remarked, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus responded, “With humans this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

With misplaced priorities, this is our hope!

Chris Thore, pastor
Clemmons Moravian Church, Clemmons, North Carolina