Eternal life is about more than possessions

Posted Mar 17, 2018

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Daily Scripture

Mark 10:17-31

17 As Jesus continued down the road, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?”

18 Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God. 19 You know the commandments: Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Don’t cheat. Honor your father and mother” [Exodus 20:12-17].

20 “Teacher,” he responded, “I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him. He said, “You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.” 22 But the man was dismayed at this statement and went away saddened, because he had many possessions.

23 Looking around, Jesus said to his disciples, “It will be very hard for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom!” 24 His words startled the disciples, so Jesus told them again, “Children, it’s difficult to enter God’s kingdom! 25 It’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”

26 They were shocked even more and said to each other, “Then who can be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible with human beings, but not with God. All things are possible for God.”

28 Peter said to him, “Look, we’ve left everything and followed you.”

29 Jesus said, “I assure you that anyone who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or farms because of me and because of the good news 30 will receive one hundred times as much now in this life—houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and farms (with harassment)—and in the coming age, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first.”

Reflection Questions

Jesus told the man who asked about eternal life, “Sell what you own, and give the money to the poor.” The man went sadly away—he didn’t want eternal life THAT much. Then Jesus said, “It’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.” That shocked his disciples—no rich people in heaven? No, said Jesus, that’s not the point: “All things are possible for God.” His hyperbolic statements were a solemn warning about the spiritual danger of worshiping wealth more than we worship God.

  • To help us understand the specific focus of Jesus' words, it’s important to remember that God did NOT tell every affluent person in the Bible to sell all they had (e.g. Abraham in the Old Testament, Zacchaeus in Luke 19). What was the heart issue Jesus wanted the young man to face up to? What made it so hard for him to respond to Jesus' call? This story, including Jesus' at first startling images, confronts us with the hard question, “Which of my possessions, if any, are so precious to me that I’d choose them over following Jesus?” We know how the young man answered the question, turning away from the “treasure in heaven” Jesus offered. Have you ever seriously wrestled with that question? How would you answer Jesus?

Prayer

Lord God, all things are possible for you. Grow in me the wisdom to always value the eternal treasure you offer more highly than any of this earth’s temporary possessions. Amen.

Family Activity

Jesus often shows us the power of forgiveness. Blow up one balloon for each family member. Place them in the center of the room. Invite each family member to choose one along with a marker. Ask each person to draw picture or write words representing something they have done wrong. Read I John 1:9 aloud. Explain that this means that no matter what we do, we can tell God we are sorry and God will forgive us. Begin a time of prayer, asking God to forgive what is written on your balloon. After you have prayed, have each person pop his or her balloon, representing God forgiving and forgetting your sin. Continue until each person has prayed and popped their balloon. Thank God for forgiving our sins.

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Mikaela Aurand

Mikaela Aurand

Mikaela Aurand is a student at Belton High School and is active in rezlife Sunday School and youth group.

My schedule can get crazy, jam-packing everyday life with sports, a job, school, and social events. Volleyball is one of the two sports I participate in. I would play for my school in the fall, and then for a club in the winter. Swimming is my other sport and its season is also winter. Last year, I managed to balance school, club volleyball, and swimming for the high school all at the same time. There was only one problem--I was missing a bunch of church, youth group, and YoungLife, another Christian organization I’m involved in. I felt as if I was drifting from God, and only made it to church about twice a month all winter long. Doing both sports on top of my first year of high school was physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining.  

This year I began to really invest myself into my amazing Sunday School class and realized that I was spiritually hungry, longing to learn more about God and deepen my faith. When recruiting for club volleyball rolled around, I decided not to join a team. Last minute offers kept popping up, but even though the offers were tempting, I stuck with my decision. I knew that I would be overwhelmed already with school and swimming, but more than anything, I wanted to put God first in my life. 

It was hard to let go of volleyball year round, and I missed it at times, but not as much as I thought I would. Volleyball is temporary. Meanwhile, the amazing gift of eternal life from God is everlasting. Jesus told the rich man in Mark 10:21, “Go sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The man was too blind to see that the treasure in heaven was eternal life while his riches were only temporary, just like volleyball. 

Looking back, I am so grateful that I chose to put God first. I started to attend youth group, began to make new friends, and almost never missed Sunday school. I’ve felt the change God has been making in my life, and my faith has continued to grow every day. God wasn’t promising to fix everything if I put God first, but we are promised eternal life. I know that even when my day gets super crazy, I can get through it if I just remember to keep God first. In Mark 10:27, Jesus says, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” So next time I’m making a decision of whether to add something to my busy schedule, I’ll make sure that it won’t take away from church. To have a strong faith you have to have a strong faith community, and I am so glad to call Church of the Resurrection my church family.

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