Nice guys finish last! We’ve all probably heard this statement before. In a world where the gap between the haves and the have nots seems to widen all the time, we (or at least I) find ourselves trying harder and harder to keep up with the Joneses. We are constantly reminded about what we don’t have but badly need to have by way of advertisements. Catch an episode of ET or TMZ, and hear all about the celebrity life. In listening to Monday night’s presidential debate, it seems that both candidates have plans for how to create jobs in our country by either raising or lowering taxes on the most wealthy Americans. All the while, here we all are, just trying to live our lives by what is right and provide for our families.
How are we as Christians called to live their lives? Here in this Matthew passage, we hear about the wealthy man who asked Jesus how he should be living his life. Jesus’ response was to the man was about following several commandments, which the man states that he does follow. What does he still lack? If he wants to be PERFECT, he should go sell all of his possessions and give the money to charity. And the man leaves sad because he doesn’t want to lose all of what he has earned in his lifetime.
A couple of thoughts that I have here. First, I’m wondering how we all would react if Jesus told us to sell EVERYTHING we have and give ALL of the money to charity, how would we react? I can guarantee I would hesitate. And I am far from rich in comparison to the Warren Buffets of the world.
The word that catches my attention here is the word PERFECT. Is there really a such thing as perfect in human terms? I don’t believe so. We are a fallen race living in a fallen world. We aren’t expected to be perfect. Thanks be to God for sending Jesus to take the place of our imperfection. What we ARE called to do though is to not make idols that take the place of God. We all have exactly what we are meant to have; no more, no less. You and I may never be driving our Ferrari’s to church on Sundays, or visiting one of our multiple “summer homes.” But that isn’t what we should be striving for in life. We are here on Earth to serve, not to be served, or to self-serve. It is my belief that we should give up some of ourselves in service to others and ultimately to God. As it says in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
May we not work so hard or worry so much about being the best or standing out above others. Jesus said “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth.” We may not be the BEST or PERFECT in this lifetime, but this lifetime is short in comparison to eternity. We need to become last here so we have a chance at being first in eternity. God bless.