Yesterday we looked at a story told by the good news story writer Luke that begins with the question “what must I do to gain eternal life”, and provides us with the proper perspective on being a good neighbor and living eternal life here and now grounded in Love.
Today, let’s look at a similar story told by three of the writers of the good news story, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, of a rich man coming to Jesus with this same question, “what must I do to gain eternal life?” For this particular individual, Jesus tells him to sell all he owns, give the money to the poor and “follow me.”
Jesus knew that this man had turned God’s law into a checklist for his own benefit rather than a way of life of loving God and neighbor.
When our faith ancestors told the story of creation, they said that God breathed life into us. It wasn’t anything external to us – not the sun, moon, or stars, nor the plants or animals or fish or birds – that brought us to life but the very breath of God. Life comes from the God image within all of us.
But it didn’t take long for we humans to decide that we preferred to look upon the external things to define life: All the things, if we just got them, we’d be livin’ the life, for sure … until we get them and then we need the next thing because we still don’t feel like we’re living (because we are looking for life in all the wrong places). It’s not that we don’t need external things – food, water, shelter, clothes, etc., and these external things do sustain the life God has given us, but we can’t find life as God gives it in material things and fortunes.
Jesus knew the man who asked how to get eternal life defined life by what he had rather than who God created him to be and so Jesus asked him to give up what had gotten in the way.
Are you starting to become aware of things (or thoughts or ideologies or habits) that have gotten in the way of living life as God intends it? Be gentle on yourself, we all have them and recognizing them and keeping them out of the way is ongoing work, which is why we pray God keep us in eternal life because we need God’s help to do it.