This morning’s devotion, on the story of the rich young man, comes from Andrew Pearson.
…The disciples 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”… (ESV)
Jesus shows an eccentric knack for knowing what’s behind the words. All of us strive for that kind of clairvoyance, but often come embarrassingly short. I get myself into “foot in mouth” situations all the time, completely misreading what I thought was so obvious. This doesn’t seem to happen to Jesus.
Here he encounters a rich young man who makes the wrong assumption that Jesus thinks he ought to do something to inherit eternal life. He admits to keeping most of the Commandments—at which point Jesus stops him, looks at him, loves him, and tells him to sell all of his possessions, give the money to the poor, and then, to follow him. The young man goes away “sorrowful.” Why?
The very thing he thinks he can offer Jesus, Jesus tells him to give it away. Jesus finds the bruise—and also, ironically, the accomplishment—in this man’s life and pushes on it. He does it because the man is not in a place where he can receive the Good News. He has it all—he is wealthy, upstanding, dignified—and these vast resources he feels he can use to benefit the Cause, to benefit Jesus. But Jesus doesn’t want these.
If you were Jesus, and you were calling for a team of followers, it would be hard to imagine this rich young man wouldn’t be a front-runner, right? Jesus does not pick those, though—he has no interest in who the world believes has wisdom, wealth, or wit. He instead chooses those God likes to use: “the foolish things of the world” to bring shame to the wise.
What about you today? What offerings do you hold onto tightly? Or what offerings are being taken from you?
To Jesus you bring nothing to the table. You cannot serve Jesus on your own terms, deciding which gifts will prove most effective. Those who have died—who have left their paltry self-descriptions and silly résumés behind—those are the ones who find themselves being used in ways they never thought imaginable. They find that “all things are possible with God.”