March 18, 2017: Having to give away more of my money

Posted on : Mar 16th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Getting Closer to Jesus = having to give away more of my money

Due to the closure of Sunset Blvd for the LA Marathon on Sunday, we will have worship on SATURDAY, March 18 at 11 am this week.

Please remember that the parking meters are enforced on Sunset Blvd and on side streets on Saturday.  All the meters in this area accept credit cards or quarters.

OUR PARKING LOT:  If you are parking in the tandem spots in the church lot, please pull all the way forward so we can get another car behind you.  We’ll need to tandem park to accommodate everyone.  If you are not staying for the brunch after worship, please don’t park in a spot where you will get blocked in.

For Reflection

I have a virus protection program on one of my computers that has a warning that startles me every time it pops up.  If I try to open a web page that does not have a security certificate, this pops up:

Whoa!

Are you sure you want to go there?

Those words of warning are exactly what the disciples would have said to Jesus in this week’s gospel story, if they were chatting with Jesus today!

“Whoa!  Are you sure you want to go there?”

The context of their discussion with Jesus was about how one follows Jesus with the end result of hoping to inherit eternal life.  A man ran up to Jesus, knelt before him (a sign of reverence and obedience) and asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus answered him with the stock answers of the faith.  “Follow the commandments.”  To which the man replied “I’ve done that since my youth.”

The next response Jesus gives is quite interesting.  It’s interesting because in this story it’s not just Jesus’ words that are told.  It’s how Jesus relates to the man.  This story is explicit in detail: Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  The story continues that the man was shocked and very sorrowful, because he had many possessions.

When the disciples heard this, they also were shocked, and questioned Jesus about why the bar was set so high.  Jesus then included them in the story.  He said, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!”  With that, the disciples immediately got a “WHOA!  Are you sure you want to go there?” moment.

Most of us hear this teaching as being about or for the super wealthy.  But you’ll notice Jesus includes all of us in this story.  Yes, he uses the example of a rich person, but the context of this teaching is much broader than that.  It is addressed to all of us.

The disciples, who were clearly exasperated, said to Jesus, “Look Jesus, we’ve given up everything to follow you and you’re telling us that we’re not going to get into the realm of God?”

This causes us to pause and think, doesn’t it?  Or as my security warning says: “Whoa!  Are you sure you want to go there?”

Pastor Nadia Bolz Weber’s response to an inquiring seminarian sums up this story perfectly.  When a seminarian asked her what spiritual practices she uses to get closer to God, she replied: “Why would I want to get close to God.  Whenever Jesus gets close to me I end up having to love someone I hate, give away more of my money, or forgive someone I don’t want to forgive.”

Blessings to you this Lenten Season as we wrestle with what it means to follow in the Way of Jesus,

Dan

~ This week’s Scripture ~

Mark 10: 17-30

A man kneels before Jesus and asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

17 As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give [a] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is[b] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another,[c] “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

28 Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news,[d] 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, and yes, also troubles—and in the age to come, eternal life.

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 10:21 some add the money, but that is not in the Greek text.
  2. Mark 10:24 Other ancient authorities add for those who trust in riches
  3. Mark 10:26 Other ancient authorities read to him
  4. Mark 10:29 Or gospel

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