I am a rule follower. I like boundaries. I want guidelines.
Amazingly, these don’t have to be given to me by someone else…I set them for myself.
Most of the time without even realizing I’ve even set them! Until, I’m disappointed.
As I start to write today I cringe. It’s been well over 5 weeks since I sat down to work on a blog entry. I’m disappointed. I would like to post once a month, I’ve set guidelines for myself.
I’ve been reading the gospels for Lent.
I have a reading plan. I have a pen and a journal. I have anticipation, I am expectant.
I’ve gather little nuggets along my Lenten journey, however, when I hit week three without writing one sentence in my journal. I begin to wonder. What am I doing wrong?
A + B = C 1 + 2 = 3 Pray + Read = Revelation
Work out + Eat well = I’m healthy
Love + Discipline my kids = They are well-rounded
Wash + Dry my clothes = They are clean
Go to class + Study = I get good grades
Work hard + save = I get to take nice vacations
Do this + Do that = Get the desired result
These are the rules, the boundaries…the guidelines. Right?
Then, I read Mark 10, The Rich and the Kingdom of God.
There’s a man with a question about eternal life: “What must I do?”
I get this, I SO get this…please, just tell me what to do. What are the rules, the boundaries…the guidelines? What are YOUR expectations of me Lord?
Jesus answers by reciting the 10 commandments, most of us could probably respond the way the man does.
“I’ve kept all these”
He’s a rule follower! He likes boundaries! He wants the guidelines!
I immediately see the little boy in him.
He’s the teacher’s pet.
He’s the one jumping up and down yelling “Ooh, ooh pick me!”
He’d starving for approval.
Unfortunately, he thinks:
A = B 1 = 2 Read = Revelation Wash = Clean Study = Good grades
Do = Get
However, Jesus says one more thing is needed. He’s missing a step, there is more to the quotient. It’s not “do this, receive that” or even “DON”T do this and get that”.
He’s told to give up, let go…release what is most important to him in order to receive. It’s his money. What is it for you? Maybe the word “rich” doesn’t precede your name, at least not with financial implications…but we are all rich in something. Pride? Anger? Apathy? Gluttony? Selfishness?
I’m certain I’ve read this passage 100 times in my life but never noticed the nugget of JOY nestled smack dab in the middle of the rich man’s profession of what he’d done and what he’s told is necessary.
Verse 21 says: Jesus looked at him and loved him. (NIV)
The Message says: Jesus looked him hard in the eye – and love him!
The NLT says: Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him.
Isn’t that what we all really want? To know we are loved? To be accepted?
The Rich man had it! He had it before he asked his question. He didn’t have to give up, let go or release anything to get it! Do you see that? Do you really see that?
We are loved…without rules, boundaries or guidelines.
And if that isn’t beautiful enough, Jesus still wants more for us.
He loves the rich man and THEN gives him the constructive criticism, the life coaching, the stretching suggestion to, let “it” go. I get this, I want more for my kids, my friends…my own life. Yes, they were hashing out eternal life but what I saw here was an urgent THIS LIFE perspective to embrace.
THIS LIFE can be deeper, more meaningful…more complete but we’re lacking something. Possibly, the ability to open our hands or have an unguarded heart? What has He been asking you to entrust to Him? Don’t be like the rich man who hung his head in sadness because the ask seemed too much. Be encouraged! He already loves you!
He wants you to release what you’re holding on too, so there’s more room to fill you…with Himself.