Living Beyond Our Comfort Zones
Written By: Rachel Stone
Have you ever come home from an errand only to discover your shirt was on inside out or backward? Or that you had a burp cloth on your shoulder, but no baby with you? Or that you had something in your teeth, or a stain on your shirt, or on and on—something you didn’t know about yourself, but others might have noticed? Maybe you laughed at yourself, or maybe you were mortified.
Of course, these examples are lighthearted and inconsequential; but, truth be told, we don’t like to have our own mistakes revealed. In fact, there are some things about ourselves we want to keep concealed from others or even from ourselves. It can be unnerving to have those things exposed.
This week we look at a story about a wealthy young man who learned a hard truth about himself. Let’s read about him from the book of Mark. Pay attention to his questions, his responses, and to Jesus’s approach in the interaction.
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Mark 10:17-22
“What must I do to inherit eternal life?” That is a fair question, yet it also immediately bares his heart and lack of understanding. The young man presupposes his own efforts can earn eternal life. But he also learns he has a great barrier of his own making: he relies on the worldly wealth for his security and, at this point, is not prepared to give it up even to gain treasure in heaven.
Did you notice, however, what Mark reveals about Jesus in verse 21? “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” Jesus loved the young man. Jesus spoke the truth to the young man. Jesus points to one thing the young man lacked; to the one thing keeping him from the inheritance he seeks.
What might be the one thing you lack? In other words, what might be a barrier in your life keeping you from following Jesus? Or maybe you follow Jesus, but there is one thing he asks of you that is hard for you to face. Are you willing to ask Jesus to reveal it? Does it help you to know that Jesus looks at your heart with love and purpose?
Loving God, you are eternal, merciful, and gracious. You created each one of us and you know our innermost being. You put your finger on our heart and reveal what is hidden and it sometimes unnerves us to realize this. Yet, by your grace, you expose our hearts because you love us. God, it is uncomfortable to have hidden places of our hearts exposed. Help us to face these hidden truths and trust that you enable us to respond. We know you can do more than we ask or imagine. Our desire is to know you, trust you, and serve you fully. Please remove any barriers that keep us from wholeheartedly living for you. We pray also for our church. We know we have a very real financial burden that we believe hinders our work for your kingdom. We also know that we all have attitudes toward this burden on our church. Maybe we question who and why, or our role and responsibility toward it. We bring these to you, asking and trusting you to work through this for the sake of your kingdom. Perhaps, God, we have even greater barriers to be removed because we hold on to worldly treasures and values which keep us from truly following you. By your grace, enable us to approach you with a humble, contrite, and vulnerable heart. Create in us a new heart, O God. Do for us what we know we cannot do for ourselves. It is for the sake of our kingdom, and in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Approach this week’s related scriptures with prayer and understanding of God’s loving touch on your heart. Allow God to expose to you any hindrance to you fully following him. Remember, God reveals your heart because God loves you and has a plan for you. God fashions your heart for God’s unfolding purposes.
Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30
John 1:1-18; 3:1-21; 3:22-36; 8:12; 15:1-17
1 Peter 2:9
1 John 1:1-10