As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age– houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions– and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
A few years ago, I encountered a scene while traveling through the airport that may be familiar or have been experienced by many who are reading along this morning. While standing in line to check my own luggage, I observed the family in line ahead of me as they stood at the counter struggling to shift their personal possessions from one suitcase to another because the bags they were seeking to take to their intended destination were all over the weight limit for checked baggage. No matter how they shifted their belongings, every bag was going to push them beyond the limit and cost them. The family was already carrying the limit for carry-on bags and each one was stretching the seams and zippers. A decision had to be made in that moment that was not going to be a simple decision. Would they choose to pay the cost of purchasing a new suitcase and additional baggage fees or let go of some of the unnecessary souvenirs they had picked up that was now hindering them from reaching their destination?
The man in this text that had encountered Jesus also had a decision to make. Would he let go of the baggage that would keep him from reaching his desired destination or would he make a decision that would cost him on numerous levels? We are also challenged to make similar decisions while on this journey though life. What are we choosing to hold on to that keep us from experiencing beloved community, love of our neighbor, justice, and life abundant for every individual? Whatever it may be, let us choose to let it go.
Dear God, I submit my mind, will, and heart to you. Help me to see clearly what your plan is for me. Help me to stay close to you always. Not living in the past. But pressing forward to new things you have in store for me. In Jesus name, Amen. (Author Anonymous)