I love the song at the beginning of Fiddler on the Roof when Tevya enters the barn and reflects, “If I Were a Rich Man (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBHZFYpQ6nc ),” and asks God, “So what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?” Perhaps your thing is not wealth but maybe beauty or talent or power. How would you like God to bless you?
A young rich man came to Jesus and asked him what he must do to inherit heaven. The man approached Jesus as “good teacher,” and Jesus corrects him because only God is good and God is the one who knows the hearts of men to answer his request. But Jesus continues and tells him to obey the commandments. The man believes he has. Most of us would feel that we have not committed big sins like murder and we try to lead a good life. We are not as bad as some but we live better lives than many. Jesus tells the man to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor and follow him. The man left sad because he was wealthy. This is a blunt answer and the disciples are shocked (Matthew 19:16-26).
I see two ways of understanding this. Jesus is reminding the man that our wealth comes from God and is meant to be shared. We are blessed to be a blessing. Secondly, Jesus may be redirecting the young man to the first commandment that says we are to love God with our whole heart, more than our blessings. Jesus is challenging the young man’s gratefulness to God as the provider of his blessings.
During Lent we would be wise to check our attitude of gratitude for our many blessings. We are to look up to God as our source and not look at the “other” and be thankful we are not as needy as them. Comparing ourselves to others often leaves us feeling like we have drawn the short straw. Thanking God opens our hearts and challenges us to hold our blessings in open hands. Let us pray today, “Thank you Lord for…