20 January 2015
Reading: Matthew 19; Psalm 17
But many who seem to be important now will be least important then, and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then. (Matthew 19:30 NLT)
Jesus said these words in the context of an encounter with a young man who was God-hungry but struggling to take the next step of obedient faith because he was rich and his riches complicated his life. Following Jesus would have been too costly for him.
Earlier in the story Jesus had rebuked his disciples for trying to chase away the little children who had come to receive his blessing. Jesus’ disciples considered little children unimportant, but Jesus placed his hands on the children and blessed them.
Jesus’ disciples were amazed that he valued and served the poor and didn’t cater to the powerful rich! Jesus told them it’s hard for the rich to embrace the simplicity of the Kingdom of Heaven life of faith. Jesus’ disciples were amazed that he took time out of his busy schedule of introducing Heaven’s Kingdom on earth to bless little children. He said the Kingdom of Heaven actually belongs to those of childlike simple faith.
Like Jesus’ earlier disciples, I also have a lot to learn about what is important to Jesus! I’m living my life with a dual value system – partly formed by the values of the society I live in and partly formed by the values of God’s Kingdom. It requires constant vigilance to keep the world-system values from shaping my opinions and judgments. What counts for more: the power of position, or simplicity of service? What does Jesus value more: wealth or sacrifice? What truly represents the life of God’s Kingdom: the complexity of knowledge, or the simplicity of faith?
These two questions are among the things I talk with God about in my quiet times: What really matters? How much is enough?
How are you doing with the “What’s Really Important” questions?
Father, I’m reminded that my value system needs constant attention and frequent correction. May my eyes see the golden glow of simplicity over the tinsel twinkle of complexity. May my ears hear the shepherd’s call to lay it down and follow, over the raucous shouts of the desire to acquire. I need your help with this. Amen.