Saturday, May 15, 2010

Matthew 19

Thanks to Tracy's post, I decided to give Matthew 19 specifically another try today and also found myself gravitating toward certain parts and questions. The question repeating in my brain was: WHY is it so hard for rich people to gain eternal life? (Why so easy for children?) I know we talked about some of those differences in small group, but i think i could use some more in depth looking because after all, I am a "rich" person, and therefore this passage is speaking to me.
It was easier to start my list for kids-- maybe because I'm around them all day! Free (think- abby preferring to run around free of clothes), playful, imaginative, present, wondering, and dependent came to mind. I did make a contrasting "rich people" list, but for me, the one that stuck out was being dependent. I would entirely rather not have to depend on God for anything physical. (Depending on God to give me patience seems much more doable) but as Matthew and I crunch numbers for next year again this week, realizing we will have to depend on God to provide for us (insurance? oh yeah, i guess we have to factor that in...) and that is hard. It could live to a right way of living, where we pray more, trust more, have more of a God imagination and then are more thankful when we receive, and more inclined to see the gift and give it back... or it could lead to more worries, frantic searching for jobs, and arguments over present and past choices.
I would love to know that as long as we take the more childlike road, the one that seems to fit Matthew 19, life will all work out, we will be completely provided for, comfortable, joyous in the wake of obedience and gifting.... but I got the feeling that Jesus' response to his disciples says otherwise. They want to know what reward they will receive since they (unlike the rich man) have left everything to follow Jesus. Jesus does say they will be rewarded, but not until the kingdom come. I don't think this is a case of heaven here and now, their thrones being the last supper seats (or you can debate with me if you like) but here, i take Jesus' words a bit more literal and believe there might actually be NO earthly reward for our obedience. Our lives might be completely taken from us and ruined (one of matthew's professors is always reminding them how they have ruined their lives by being a Christian). Peter's life was going down a nice simple fisher-family-man sort of road and thanks to Christ he ended up upsidedown on a cross, dead, as did all the first disciples and many many of the early apostles and followers of Christ. "Whoever seeks to find his life will lose it" rings a bell here.
It's such a tough bite to swallow, I was taught that hard work, perseverance and self sacrifice would earn me reward... and i still think they will. Only I may never see it this side of the grave. All that's left for me then, is the freedom to be present to the here and now, obeying God and depending on God's provisions with no attention or worry about consequences of any shape or size.

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