Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
ONE THING YOU LACK
Luke 18: 18-32
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18: 22)Remarkably our selected passage is bracketed by stories of related theme. As prelude, Jesus said one ought to receive the kingdom of God like a child, and in the epilogue, we see a blind man received sight and followed Jesus. But, we see the rich ruler refused to follow Jesus, because he lacked loyalty, the virtue of faithfulness. Consequently he ended up with dead deeds. Discipleship is costly and requires loyalty. Therefore, it is imperative to understand that loyalty to Jesus must be rooted in faith and devotion. Jesus teaches us two important facets of loyalty through this incident: loyalty to the redeemer and to the neighbor.Loyal to Jesus: In order to be loyal to Jesus, we must believe and accept that “God has a plan to prosper us,” and give up our own plan. The ruler came seeking a way of his own to inherit eternity. He asked “what shall I do,” but Jesus exposed his vices of self righteousness and self reliance. Wisdom of Proverbs exhorts us to “listen to advice and accept discipline, in order for us to be counted among the wise.” This means allowing our minds, our thoughts and our attitudes to be shaped by the Holy Spirit, even in those circumstances when the truth may be inconvenient or downright painful. Jesus said to the ruler, unless he disavows his loyalty to his possessions and pledge allegiance to God’s plan and care for the neighbors, he will not enter the Kingdom of God. Let us remember the golden rule “if you love me obey my commandments.” Young ruler lacked loyalty to love the Lord whole heartedly and obey His law. Thus, he walked away in grief.
Loyal to neighbor: Immediately after imploring for the poor, Jesus went on to bring light of life into the darkened world of blind Bartimaeus. The rich ruler could have been a part of this miraculous transformation happened to his neighbor. When Jesus said “sell all you have and give it to the poor,” Jesus invoked the story of Good Samaritan, but the ruler walked away just as the priest and the Levite. An old Japanese proverb says, “Loyalty and devotion lead to bravery. Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice. The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust in the power of love.” Let us recall that Jesus appealed to the ruler to follow Him, where as Bartimaeus, upon receiving sight, knew God is the source of eternal life and therefore he followed Jesus. Loyalty is the virtue of faithfulness, without which we will not experience the power of love. The question we should answer today is – are we faithful to disavow our loyalty to possessions and positions and pledge our loyalty to God and bring light to our neighbors?
Prayer: Faithful and gracious Father, help us to be loyal through your son Jesus Christ, so that we may love You supremely, and love our neighbors sacrificially. Amen!
Saju Alex, St. Thomas, New York