Mark Has Some Good News, Part 42, Worthless Comparison
The Rich Young Man
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" 20 And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth." 21 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; and come, follow me." 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?" 27 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God." 28 Peter began to say to him, "See, we have left everything and followed you." 29 Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
It's something I'll never be able to grasp fully in this life. Something that measure and scope cannot define or describe. Yet as a Christian it is the foundation of all we believe and hope for. That something is the worth of knowing Jesus.
Jesus looks at a group of men who have left everything and a man who needs nothing and throws the same curve ball of a teaching. Last are first and first are last. He teaches a ground leveling truth from heaven that what we see what we feel what we enjoy what we have, means nothing compared to knowing Jesus. That you can suffer the devastating loss of everything you own and gain Jesus or you can have nothing and rely on Jesus. That Jesus is the measure of grace and providence that shows us what perfect reality looks like.
You can spend hours on school, days at work and years in your calling. And it's still worthless unless you follow Jesus. He teaches that this world has no value apart for what Jesus does with it.
His apostle Paul, best takes this concept to heart in Philippians 3:1-11. That everything (because the Ghost wanted to use that word) is worthless (because the Ghost wanted to use that word too) compared to knowing Christ as lord.
Grasping what Jesus does for us on the cross and by resurrecting from the dead should make us look at anything else as worthless. If we take anything and place it in the place of where Jesus should be like our love, our livelihood our money our family our friends our reputation our pleasure. We commit idolatry. Where we say this thing or that thing is more important than the creator of everything wanting me. Not needing me but wanting me. That we are the threads God uses to weave his plan and will into his creation and that only threads with nothing else with them fit though his needle.
Our worldly selves will never fit through his needle unless we shed all but Jesus. Anything this world has to offer can be a part of a life with Jesus. Our friends and family can come to know him as savior and lord, our money can be used to glorify his name and church through giving and generosity. Our free time and pleasure can be redeemed into time spent seeking his will with a fishing rod or skateboard, outreach for lost football fans.
If Jesus is at the top there is no limit to what he can use in your life, bring into your life or take away from your life. But he must be first or you may be last.