“Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?” Mark 10:17 (The Message Bible)
Would you say you “do” or “be”? Most people have never learned the art of “being.” If someone asks who you say you are, you recite the information on your driver’s license–well, maybe not the weight part. We were asked this question at the beginning of a retreat, and I said, “I’m a wife, mother, church secretary….” By the end of the retreat, I answered the same question, “I am a child of God, a lover of peace, content with myself.”
The rich man in today’s gospel lesson in Mark 10 ran to Jesus and asked how he could get into heaven. He didn’t much like Jesus’ answer: “Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.” (vs. 21) Perhaps the rich man had worked very hard to accumulate his wealth, and it had become part of his identity. He also was confused because he professed to have always observed the Ten Commandments and probably thought that was enough to be in God’s good grace.
Jesus wanted the man to look beyond what he had built up on earth and look into his heart. It’s the being, not the doing that opens the door to heaven.
Dear Lord, help me see where I can give away both possessions and love to those who are poor in pocket and spirit. Amen.