In the Gospel stories, there is conversation that Jesus has with a man, sometimes described as rich and young, but a man of means for sure. The man grew up in a faithful household and he had learned good behavior at a young age, but Jesus seems to get under his skin by suggesting that the man “go and sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor” (Matthew 19:21).
Jesus tells the man, “If you want to be perfect…” And at the end of Jesus’ directions he continues to encourage that the man will have treasure in heaven. I think the man is confused because he thought, as do so many modern day believers, that ethical behavior and moral living produce a certainty of entitlement when it comes to God’s good gifts. I think this might be why the disciples look at Jesus’ interaction with this man and respond, “Who then can be saved?” If not this man, then who? Really Jesus?
Yet, the suggestion to see everything, give the money to the poor, build treasure in heaven, and come and follow indicate of level of trust in God that the man had never known. Put a different way, his dependence upon living the correct way had actually become an obstacle in trusting God with his life.
I think this is where I find myself, and maybe you do as well—the dichotomy between being enough for God and trusting God to be enough for me. Most days I focus on getting the performance of life correct, which leads to times of great guilt and pain. Sure, there is a victory or two but even in those moments I often am focused on how good I am because of the way I behaved. God doesn’t get much credit for my behavior.
However, to trust that God is enough for me leads me into an adventure of faith and not a collection of false securities. I throw away the check-lists and the to-do lists and the superiority complex and focus on the leading of God in my life. I am a giver, one who pours out himself for the benefit of God…usually by service to others. It changes my family goals, my career goals, my political goals, my social goals…it changes ME! Jesus says the key to trusting God is “giving up” something…maybe everything if needed. What have we actually given up for God? Is gaining God worth throwing other things away?
I can’t help but hear the words of the song “Oceans” (Where feet may Fail) as I write this: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters in the presence of my Savior…” If our stuff is the borders of our trust in God, then God has every right to ask us to remove the obstacles and trust Him more.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.