Respectability

John Koedyker

Read: Mark 10:17-22

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven . . .” (v. 21)

These words of Jesus have always seemed daunting to me. This young man must have felt the same way. “Jesus, you want me to do what? Sell everything I have and give it to the poor?” That’s asking an awful lot.

But on closer examination, it seems like what this young man desires more than anything is a compliment. It’s almost like he wants a nice pat on the back from Jesus. He runs up to Jesus, eager to show off his good life. He is highly respected in the community. He has diligently obeyed the commandments, and besides all that, he’s rich. Surely Jesus will affirm him and his wonderfully respectable life.

“Good teacher,” he asks Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” But it’s almost like he already knows the answer. The answer he expects from Jesus is, “Well done! Keep up the good work, and you most certainly will inherit eternal life.” But that is not the answer he gets. Living a respectable life is not enough. God wants all of us and he wants our best. If you feel pretty good about yourself spiritually, if you think you have attained eternal life, think again. The apostle Paul puts it this way: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). —John Koedyker

As you pray, offer your best and your all to God.