Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Advent Prayer, Day 14: Giving It All Away

By Claudia Mair Burney

Saturday, the second week of Advent

“A certain ruler 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 steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’ He replied, ‘I have kept all these since my youth.’ When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me.’ But when he heard this, he became sad, because he was very rich.” Luke 18:18-23 NRSV


What does the man who has everything need? How about a reality check from Jesus? Perhaps the wealthy man, with such an impressive spiritual resume, only asked his question to put any nagging doubts about his eternal destiny to rest. But Jesus has a way of taking issue with whatever we believe about our spiritual progress. The man’s first clue that Jesus would challenge him to his core should have been the “no one is good” comment. By the time he realized he had to give up everything before he could even begin to be a disciple, he’d grown discouraged enough to wonder if anyone could be saved.

My Inheritance and Reward,

I understand how the rich man felt; you often surprise me with how much you want: all of me! I’m grateful that you knew this kind of surrender. You are far richer than this man, yet you came to the tiny planet you’d made, knowing you’d die at the hands of your own creation. You gave your all, Jesus. I want to give my whole self to you, but without your enabling grace, this level of submissiveness is impossible. Please Lord, help me to see all the ways humility, discipleship, compassion, and social justice are connected. Then I can truly be the servant you want me to be, instead merely deluding myself into thinking I’m good enough to save myself by my own works.

“Come, Lord Jesus.”

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