It’s rare that I find myself thinking about Sunday’s sermon midweek. This Sunday our pastor Drew Ditzel preached on the familiar story of Jesus and the rich man (Mark 10). The rich man, who says he has kept all the commandments perfectly and has lived a righteous life, comes to Jesus asking what more he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell everything he has and to give all the proceeds to the poor. The rich man walks away sadly, convinced he can’t do that.
Drew takes this challenge to the rich man that so often confounds many of us—and in turn allows us to think we’re off the hook, since Jesus hasn’t called us to do anything quite so dramatic, extraordinary or (honestly) idiotic—and inverts that challenge. Jesus’ challenge to the rich man is really an invitation to all of us in the end, most of whom lead pretty ordinary lives and may or may not be financially wealthy: as moms, dads, spouses and friends, we go to work, parent kids, pay bills and maybe watch Sunday afternoon football.
And the good news in Drew’s sermon is that we don’t have to have extraordinary lives to do what Jesus is challenging the rich man to do. Right now, in our very ordinariness, in the absence of some spectacular call to go become Mother Teresa, we can give everything that makes us who we are (work, finances, relationships, kids, school, whatever it might be) to Jesus, so that Jesus can use our everything—our “wealth”—for His purposes.
And, I would add after further reflection here that while this point did not come up in Sunday’s sermon, it is explicitly clear in this passage that Jesus’ purposes include generosity to the poor.
You can listen to Drew’s sermon, “Is Taking What You Have and Following Jesus Worth It?,” here. It will make you laugh, think and maybe even change how you live your otherwise ordinary life.