Mark – The Facts.
I have three weeks left. I am retiring from teaching at a job I love, but it is time to let it go. I gave the notice. In these last days, I have caught myself holding on tightly to what was and is. I am having second thoughts about letting go of the security of the income. Yes, I am confessing of my anxious thoughts. Bear with me.
Then I read the next passage in Mark this morning and God reminds me that He is with me and will fill my mind, heart and my tight-fisted hands with the next thing He has planned for me as I let it all go. I’m not in charge of my life. I never was. He is. I cannot do life by myself. Apart from Him, I am nothing. With Him, everything is possible.
“Who has any chance at all?” ask the disciples. It is an honest question. We ask it, too. Jesus was blunt: ‘No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.'”
Wow. Just wow. Does that hit you right between the eyes of your heart and mind this morning? It startles me, convicts me to settle down my anxious thoughts…and let go.
It is not “riches” that hold us back from residing in the Kingdom of God…it is anything of this world that we hold on to with a tight grip that divides our thinking and puts a barrier between us and the Heavenly Father who wants His best for us.
When we do, will there be troubles still? Yes. He promised that, too. When we sacrifice it all for Him (as He did for us) He will multiply exponentially in responsibilities…which will bring more troubles…but there is the bonus of eternal life with him for serving Him well! The Great Reversal.
The disciples continued to follow. After hearing all that Jesus said to them about letting go and giving their all, they continued to follow. This is monumental. They were confused, puzzled and “not just a little afraid”. But they followed still. Do we? When we are rattled, confused by what the world says we should have, be doing or how we should make the journey, having it our way, do we continue to follow Jesus?
Seriously think this through. Take all the time You need. I am.
Mark 10, The Message
To Enter God’s Kingdom
17 As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
18-19 Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.”
20 He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!”
21 Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”
22 The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
23-25 Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?” The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult. I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.”
26 That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.
27 Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.”
28 Peter tried another angle: “We left everything and followed you.”
29-31 Jesus said, “Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first.”
32-34 Back on the road, they set out for Jerusalem. Jesus had a head start on them, and they were following, puzzled and not just a little afraid. He took the Twelve and began again to go over what to expect next. “Listen to me carefully. We’re on our way up to Jerusalem. When we get there, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the religious leaders and scholars. They will sentence him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Romans, who will mock and spit on him, give him the third degree, and kill him. After three days he will rise alive.”
Reflect on what Jesus is saying…
–“Come and follow Me.”
–“Let God do it.”
–“Give it all up.”
–“Listen to Me carefully”
–“No one will lose out.”
–“Come and follow Me.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
You settle my soul. You cleanse my thoughts and forgive my behavior. You lift us up from worldly thinking to much higher thinking. You died for us and rose again to save us from ourselves. With You are great opportunities to grow closer to You and others. Without You, life is meaningless. Troubles will only be for a little while until we meet up with you to live forever. You calm our stormy thinking and settle the seas of our worries about the future. You are our future! I love you with all my heart, mind and soul. I look expectantly for what You have next for us. I’m letting go. My empty hands are reaching up to You. . I’m holding on tightly to Your promises. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for not letting us go!
In Jesus Name, Amen