Blessed… The Why

A man approached him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There’s only one who is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.” The man said, “Which ones?” Then Jesus said, “Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The young man replied, “I’ve kept all these. What am I still missing?” Jesus said, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away saddened, because he had many possessions (Matthew 19:16-22, Common English Bible).

“Follow the commandments,” said Jesus. “I’ve done that,” said the rich young man. “Then go, sell all your stuff, give the money to the poor, and come and follow me,” said Jesus, effectively ending to conversation. The man left, sad, because he couldn’t give up his stuff.

I fear many of us would respond in such a way. I have told you before I love my guitars. I would like to think I could give them up. But, I know myself well enough to know, it wouldn’t be easy.

So why did Jesus give this guy these instructions. Wouldn’t it have made sense to have at least one guy with money and stuff? Everybody in the group lacked worldly wealth. It seems to me that it would be smart to have someone who could financially support the group.

Jesus wasn’t looking for financial support. That is something we would do. What Jesus was looking for was (and is) faithfulness. And, Jesus knows all too well the barriers that keep us from real faithfulness.

Always remember this too, God knows us better than we know ourselves. Jesus knew the importance this guy placed on all his stuff. Jesus knew that it would be a barrier to his faith and his relationship with Jesus.

When he called Andrew, Simon, James and John he didn’t give them instructions like that. There are two reasons for that, I think. First, those first four disciples were fishermen. They didn’t have much, their boats and nets but that would be about it. And, the second reason, what they had, they left behind when they followed Jesus. The barriers for the twelve would be in other places. Jesus knew for the rich young man that the barriers would be his worldly goods.

Be it guitars or cars or money or any other number of things, our stuff has to take a backseat to our relationship with God. Jesus doesn’t want to take a backseat, not even to a person. I think it is very safe to say he isn’t interested in taking a back seat to our stuff.

Another of those James Moore titles I have talked about lately is, If God is Your Co-Pilot, Change Seats. God even has to be first when it comes to our own lives. Nothing else is going to work. That was what Jesus was trying to say to the rich young man.

What are the things you need to move to the back to make room for Jesus in the pilot’s seat?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J, Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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