by Veronne Carter
Hardly anyone carries cash anymore. I recall ringing up a transaction at the store the other day and the customer’s purchase balance after discounts was $.58. The customer paid with a card. When I worked at a thrift store in PA, our bric-a-brac department loved sorting through old wall pictures, because the older generation would occasionally hide (and we’d find) large amounts of cash in the back. I was at a local thrift store recently and I purchased an item that cost $7 and change. I didn’t have enough in my pocket, so I paid with a debit card. The difference – cash is handy, I can see what I have. A card means money was transferred into a bank somewhere and it’s held there for use.
I’m sure it’s not an exact analogous comparison, but there are a lot of ways that we choose what we prefer. Do we keep cash, or leave our money in a bank and pay with a debit card? Do we spend time watching TV or do we put some extra time in reading the holy Scripture? Do we attend church on Sunday or do we stay home and watch news and sports? Do we spend all that we have on ourselves, or do we sacrifice whatever the Lord tells us to in order to reap the benefit of His kingdom?
This young man has a dilemma. He wants to inherit the blessings of God that He notices in Jesus, so he seeks out what to do. Jesus lays out several ‘to-do’s’ found in the law of Moses (10 commandments). ‘Check. Check. Check,’ thinks the man. ‘Ok, Jesus, what ELSE do I have to do to secure this deal?’
AHA! And this is where we all face the larger challenge. Jesus tells him: ‘Adjust your priorities, young man!’ Yes. Change the things that are important to you. Sell your stuff (because you lean heavily on your stuff), give the money you make to those who need it most, and then come empty-handed, and follow “me” (Jesus). That decision would change everything. The man’s lifestyle, the man’s comfort, and the man’s dependence. ‘No! I can’t do that.’ Jesus tells him in Mark 10:21, ‘If you do that, you will have treasures in heaven.’ Still, the man’s answer is no, and he walks away disappointed.
Sometimes that’s us, isn’t it? Sometimes the thing that’s keeping us from experiencing the joys and value of God’s kingdom is our hand (and heart) on our stuff or our time. The disciples ask a great question: if we, as humans, can’t separate ourselves from our stuff, then how can anyone be saved?
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
This month of fasting, what has God been leaning on in your life? What ‘what else’ has he put His finger on? What treasures have you kept here on earth which need to be shifted to treasures in heaven? Ask the Lord to give you the strength and discipline to surrender all to Him so that He can bless in ways that have eternal value.
by Veronne Carter