Yesterday women brought their babies to Jesus to be blessed and were not turned away. Today we have the opposite end of the social spectrum, a rich ruler, who asks Jesus what he must do to be saved. “Good teacher,” he respectfully begins. Jesus responds that only God is good. Only God keeps the commandments. The ruler says he has kept the commandments since he was young. He believes he has done all that the law requires. Jesus looks beyond good deeds, though, and tells him to sell his wealth, give it to the poor and follow Jesus. Ouch. Jesus has seen the pride and self-assurance in the man. The man leaves sad. Jesus looks at our hearts and calls us to committed relationship with him, beyond our good deeds done out of love.
The people watching, though, are shocked for wealth is so often equated with God’s blessing and favor. We could also equate fame, talent, education and political power as being symbols of the blessed life. All are false Gods. The audience despairs, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus responds that what is impossible for us to do on our own, is possible with God. “By grace we are save through faith and that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9.
What is the question that you would like to ask God today? Perhaps you are not asking about salvation but you have another question. For many of us, our question would be how much longer this war or poverty or disease must continue. I suspect Jesus would say again that with people, it is impossible to resolve these issues, but with God all things are possible. And that is a challenge to faith, to trust a God we cannot see, and to follow his guidelines like turning the other cheek, forgiving, and loving our enemy. We need God’s help with all these impossibilities. Spend a few minutes committing your challenge to God this morning. He is listening and he is active. Waiting for his answer is hard. Blessings as you wait.