(This service will also include the baptisms of Christine Young and Dayo & Eni Oki)
Interruptions tend to annoy us, but they never seemed to bother Jesus. He had just left a house where he had been teaching and blessing little children, only to be interrupted by a man with a burning question – “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?” He, like many people today, thought that he had to do something in order to earn eternal life, rather than receive it by faith.
In dealing with his question Jesus referred him to the Ten Commandments, which the man had kept all his life. His heart jumped for joy; he had always lived a good life, did this mean that he already had eternal life? No not exactly, because Jesus lovingly looked at the man and continued – “One thing you lack.” Well that wasn’t too bad was it; only one thing missing; he could work on that. But what was that one thing? Then Jesus dropped the bomb shell – “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
The “one thing” that was preventing this man from inheriting eternal life was his wealth. Money had become his God, because he worshipped it, trusted it and found fulfilment in it, so much so that instead of possessing wealth, his wealth now possessed him, making him spiritually poor. He needed to liquidate his assets, give the money to the poor and then give his total allegiance to Jesus by following him.
A tough call, so what was his response – “the man’s face fell. He went away sad because he had great wealth.” His hands were so tightly entwined around his possessions that he could not open them to receive eternal life; and so he has the dubious distinction of being the only person who came to Jesus and left worse off, all because of that “one thing” that he could not part with. Small wonder that Jesus said – “How hard is it for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”
Challenge – Is there “one thing” that is preventing you from inheriting eternal life?
It does not have to be money, because Jesus is not anti wealth, this just happened to be this man’s issue. For you your “one thing” may be an intellectual issue, such as the existence of evil. Or your “one thing” may be an emotional issue, such as the problem of suffering. Or your “one thing” may be a moral matter say of a sexual nature. Whatever your “one thing” you are faced with the choice of doing nothing about it and going away sad; or dealing with it and following Jesus.
The man sadly chose not to follow, which reminded Peter of how he and the other disciples had left their fishing business, their homes and their families to follow Jesus (Mark 1 v 17.) He in turn reassures them that they will not lose out, because what they have renounced in terms of their old life will be more than compensated for in their new life, and even more so in the life that is to come (Philippians 3 v 7 – 8.)
Challenge – Could it be that the “one thing” for you is that you think that you cannot possibly become a Christian because there is too much to give up?
Then think again, because although there may well be things that you will need to put aside, these are by far outweighed by all that you will receive. And although you may possibly feel that you are an unlikely candidate for salvation, remember – “all things are possible to God.”
Theme: “The one thing!”
Reading: Mark 10 v 17 – 31
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes