Sunday, August 25
Drawn to Generosity
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
At first reading, this seems like a story that specifies exactly how to earn a spot in heaven. Follow all the commandments and give everything to the poor. Done and done.
But not so fast. Even if we could follow all the commandments and give everything to the poor, it would still be impossible for us to earn a spot in heaven. Why? Because it’s not ours to earn. It’s God’s to give.
No matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, we can never do enough to earn heaven, salvation, eternal life, or whatever it is we long to attain in the afterlife. But this is a good thing. A really, really good thing. It frees us from spinning our wheels trying to achieve the impossible. Instead, we can let go of the burden of earning God’s love, and accept the love God has already given us, free of charge.
Once freed of this burden, then we have time and space to decide just how we want to show up in the world. Do we want to be stingy or generous? Do we want to be kind or cruel? Just or unjust? Spiritual or material? With the time and space to shape our lives, I believe most of us will choose wisely most of the time. When we are healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually), we are drawn to kindness, generosity, empathy, peace, and justice. How will you show up in the world?
Narrative Lectionary Text: Mark 10:17-31
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and 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 commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”