BY ELAINE SELLS
In Mark 10:29 we hear the story of a rich man who anxiously runs up to Jesus and begs to know what he needs to do to inherit eternal life. He says he’s followed the commandments since his youth, but still, he’s worried. Jesus then offers a simple, but apparently very difficult, answer: Sell everything, give to the poor, and follow me. Like many of us who withdraw on hearing an answer we don’t like, the man walks away shocked, long-faced and sad. Giving up his wealth, it seems, is just too much.
As with every Biblical Story
We are called to find ourselves in the characters portrayed. So how am I like the rich man who wants to inherit eternal life ? While I can’t identify with his wealth, or at times his faithful adherence to the commandments, something in his anxiety hits home. Despite all he has, something is gnawing at him, something is missing, and he worries that to inherit eternal life he will be forgotten. That sounds a lot like me and the world around me: We may have all the comforts of life, yet something is always missing and we get stuck, which only adds to our anxiety. “If only I were richer, smarter, 10 pounds lighter, more athletic, more certain … then I would ….”
So how can we, in the 21st century, find peace in “Sell everything”? Could it be that what Jesus is telling us is more like: “Abandon all of your unhealthy attachments. Let go of the things, habits, thoughts, doubts, addictions, false securities, and fears that hold you back. Have faith. Stretch yourself. Seize the moment and take risks”?
As we assess what to make of our time, talents and treasure this season, we are called to make sense of the words of One who says both “Sell everything” and “I have come that you might live abundantly.” It sounds confusing, but in the end we must trust Jesus when he says: “There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time.” (Mark 10:29)
The kingdom of God, eternal life, true freedom are near. How can we not seize the moment?
For Reflection …
- When do you think was the last time you tried a new hobby or activity even though you knew you might not succeed or be good at it?
- What fear or worry is holding you back from living abundantly and generously right now? Your life is your time, talents and treasure.