Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
What’s in your pockets?
When my nephew Seth was a toddler, he had a habit of filling his pockets throughout each day with whatever caught his eye: favorite toys, keys, plastic animals, game pieces, nerf gun ammo, bottle caps. “What’s in Seth’s pockets?” became such a great source of entertainment each day that my brother Chris and his wife Alicia started taking pictures of his “pocket dump”.
As I look at the pocket dump above I can’t help but to ask: what was so precious to Seth about the “Don’t Break the Ice” plastic ice cube or the beat up penny? What was going on in his little brain that made him think “I might need this for later” or “this Scrabble tile completes me”?
In Matthew 19, Jesus encountered a wealthy young man who had been very careful to follow the law to secure his place in Heaven. It seems like he wanted to check in with Jesus to validate his own point of view that he was on the right path by asking what “good thing” he could do. When Jesus challenged him to put God first, ahead of what he valued most, he had to walk away. He could not bear the thought of parting with his vast and precious possessions. You see, Jesus’ response was not really about the young man’s possessions, it was about where God fit into his heart.
““No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24
This story has always challenged me to consider what I value, and if there is anything that I value so much more than God that I might walk away if I were challenged to give it up or if I lost it.
As we meditate on materialism this week – ask yourself: “what am I filling my pockets with?” Is there anything that I hold on to so tightly that I couldn’t let it go, even for God? Is there anything that I’m making precious over God and my relationship with Him?
Pray: “Dear Jesus – thank You for Your provision for me. Please teach me how to use what You have provided to be of service to You and those that you have put in my path. In Jesus name, Amen.”