Psalm 50:5-6, 7-8, 14 and 23
The just one’s sacrifice is most pleasing, nor will it ever be forgotten. ...
Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means. Sirach 35
The disciples of Jesus just got a shock. They watched a young man ask Jesus what it took to be saved. He'd been obedient to the law all his life. When he asked Jesus what "more" he could do, Jesus invited him to an even closer discipleship: "Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." The young man's face fell. His many possessions wouldn't let him follow Jesus further, so he went away sad.
That part was disturbing enough, but then Jesus goes on to say how hard it is to have wealth, because possessions become a really tough impediment to following Jesus fully. Jesus liked to use vivid, memorable images, so he really shocks them. Picture trying to get a camel through the eye of a needle! It is that hard.
Now none of these disciples seemed to have been rich, and they had already left home to follow Jesus, but it did shock them enough to ask, "Then, who CAN be saved?" Jesus assures them that God can make anything possible. Only much later would they come to know what we celebrate: His own sacrifice of self won for us God's victory over our sin and death.
Well, Peter just had to ask. Well, what about US, Lord? He just had to go a step further and remind Jesus of the sacrifice they all had made to follow him.
Jesus' response is a consoling invitation for us all today. The more we have let go of to follow him, the more we will receive back many times over. He's never outdone in generosity. So we are not confused, he also reminds us that if we really follow him - and don't let possessions and all that come with them control us - we will be living a very counter-cultural life. Rejection and persecution is the way the world treats those who try to follow Jesus. It's to be expected. But, he'll take care of us. It's that simple. He doesn't forget his own.
It is a wonderful invitation. The strong pull that we experience so often to try and have it "both ways" is an illusion. The great, revealing discovery of life is that the only way to really "have it all" is to completely surrender to the only one who can offer us the fullness of life here and now, and forever.
Lord, Jesus, open my eyes. Help me hear your call and believe your comforting promise. Don't let me be blind to the attraction and addiction to a way of life that ultimately excludes you. Let me live more freely. Let me entrust myself to your care more completely. Let me know the joy of being with you, loving as you love me, sharing your mission of compassion for others as you do, and of doing what I can to make a difference in this world for those who are most in need. Let these desires move more deeply into my heart each day.By Andy Alexander