Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Following Christ (Matthew 19:21), oh the reality of it all ... with an observation by Kierkagaard.

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 19:21 (TM) - (larger lesson 19:16-30)
"If you want to give it all you've got," Jesus replied, "go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me."

Kierkagaard in "And I looked around and nobody was laughing" says this, "I went into church and sat on the velvet pew. I watched as the sun came shining through the stained glass windows. The minister dressed in a velvet robe opened the golden gilded Bible, marked it with a silk bookmark and said, "If any man will be my disciple, said Jesus, let him deny himself, take up his cross, sell what he has, give it to the poor, and follow me."

There seems to be a disconnect between our lifestyle and our desire to be Christ’s disciple as illustrated in the Kierkagaard story. There is a cost related to being a discipleship per our scripture reading for today. The problem that confronts us is how to bring them together into a meaningful whole.

Does Jesus expect us to literally go and get rid of everything that we own for the sake of the poor and the needy? This has been the spiritual struggle for centuries and my response is, probably not, because then we would become a problem for others to deal with and a drag on society. The Desert Fathers gained fame and a following by literally getting rid of everything, living in caves out in the desert and relying on others for their daily needs – which wasn’t much. From them we gained great wisdom and insight to the spiritual journey. Should we follow suit? It worked them, but for others … probably not.

Each of us has to find our own “place” within the spiritual walk of discipleship. The deeper question, I believe, is this: What is standing between a deeper level of discipleship and us? For the young man in the Bible story it was his wealth. For someone else it could the degrees hanging on their office wall. For others it could be what they consume – food, desserts – or a wide range of other issues and things. The so called “stuff” of our life.

What is the one thing that we cherish most in our life … that is THE thing standing in the way of a deeper walk with Christ. If we confront that, deny its importance in our life we would then move into a stronger and deeper discipleship. But within the context of this stronger discipleship we will make another discovery. We will be confronted with something else that will require our emotional, mental, physical denial because it too stands in our way. There will always be a new issue to deal with, a new discovery, a new problem. The deeper we walk with Christ the more honest we have to be with ourselves and the more we will learn about ourselves.

The journey into discipleship is a life long process. We will make new discoveries at each turn. We will learn new things about ourselves. And, we will be confronted continuously with the “wealth” of our life which must be placed aside so that we can walk deeper with the Lord.

For me it is the control of chocolate on my appetites. Anything chocolate is hard to pass up. It is the wealth of my soul. How about you?

Reveal the truth about our lives and what is presently standing between us and you. We want to be a better disciple. Help us remove those things that are standing in the way … even if it means giving up chocolate. 

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