Free to Follow

October 14th, 2012 Posted in writing

We’ve all heard about the rich young man who came to Jesus filled with a generous spirit but went away sad. Actually, only Matthew says he was young; Luke says he was a “ruler” and Mark says only that he was rich. His age wasn’t the issue. His riches were.

When he asked Jesus what more he needed to do to enter eternal life besides keeping the commandments, Jesus told him to divest himself of his riches, give the money to the poor and follow him. It was an invitation to discipleship and companionship; but it made him sad, so he went away.

Why? Because at that moment, he didn’t own his riches — they owned him. Until he got free of them, he couldn’t answer the Lord’s call. Maybe, eventually, they lost their hold on him and he came back to follow Christ. We don’t know. But the Holy Spirit is always at work.

However this incident eventually played out, it reminds us that we not only need to desire eternal life — which isn’t just about going to heaven but also about living in God’s friendship here and now — we also need to be free to answer Christ’s invitation.

So, if we have attachments and dependencies that stand in our way, we need to confront them. And they may be different from one day to another or one year to another.

We don’t have to do this alone, though, if we believe that God’s Spirit helps us in our weakness. And we can hope that God will continue to draw us towards the freedom to answer his Son, even if it takes a while.

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