I approached teaching the ladies’ class Sunday school yesterday with trepidation because I didn’t want the discussion to degenerate into talking about money and selling all our possessions. Discussions about finances have their place, to be sure, but not in this place, at this time. We were looking at the account of the rich young ruler and the question he put to Jesus: What must I do to inherit eternal life?
Seeing this wasn’t a parable with a commentary, we approached the story as a story. I maintain that story is more powerful than doctrine. Story maps a grid, sets a compass for us, so that we can know what is truth and error, what is wise and good or foolish and reprehensible. An account by which we can make observations such as: this is what a foolish/wise man does, this is how Christ meets a seeker, these are Jesus’ life-giving words, this is how big God is.
So among the few phrases I under-lined as observations from the story were treasure in heaven and kingdom of heaven and with God all things are possible.
It seemed to me that these words were what Jesus really cared about when He spoke with the young man. He still does. He is concerned that our treasures are in heaven, that we focus on His kingdom, and that we never forget how He makes all things possible. In that light, money and selling all that we have are peripheral issues and not the crux of the matter.
I love Luke, and how He puts these human touches on Christ. Luke, the doctor and people-watcher, observed that the young man went away sad, and then Jesus became sad too. I wonder if our treasures sadden Him sometimes.
How quickly our treasures become tangibles like food and appearance. Or intangibles like ministry and people’s praise. He said “Your heart will be where your treasure is.” What is it that we feel we would die without? Is it Christ, who makes me His treasure? If He is my treasure, it will never be shaken or taken away.
We were fourteen ladies in the circle. What would happen if fourteen ladies met their world and went about their work with their highest treasure being their Redeemer and Lord?
One thought on “The Rich Young Ruler and me”
It’s so easy to read a passage and come up with lists of things to do or some principles to apply. It’s so hard for me to let a story be a story and through it learn to know a person. With God all things are possible… He has a way for a rich man to be part of His kingdom. He has a way for me to be a part too. My life, my questions, are not outside of His ability to touch and heal.