Today’s Bible passages are: Genesis 40, Mark 10, Job 6, and Romans 10

mark 10By Brenda Chance

If you met up with me in an airport, commanding your attention would be my luggage; it is large and in charge. I’m the little girl with the big bag.

Friends snicker. The family rolls their eyes. The rental car agent is indignant when I need a car with a more spacious trunk. I endure the ridicule of my bigger-than-me baggage because when others find they’ve left behind toothpaste, socks, or a matching purse, I will have them. In travel and in life, I like to be prepared for anything…and everything.

Or at least that’s my positive spin. Truthfully, I’m a control freak.

Like most control freaks, I have fancy ways of dressing up my controlling ways: I’m efficient. I’m conscientious. I’m a pursuer of excellence.

However, like the quickly fleeting green flash at sunset, I sometimes glimpse a truer picture of who I am: I am a self-proclaimed ruler doing everything I can to keep my little kingdom going. Having everything in its place, lacking nothing, and leaving no space for surprises are the intangibles of my rule. Never panic. Never beg. Keep calm and carry on.

My blind spots show up best when it comes to judging other people; I can see their issues quickly. Take the rich young ruler in Mark 10 for example. He’s an easy one to pick on.

Mark tells us that Jesus had spent the day in Judea teaching the crowds. Pharisees tested him on the matter of divorce. Children were brought to him; the disciples {needlessly} rushed to his protection.  As Jesus is preparing to leave the area, a man quickly approaches Jesus with an urgent request. We learn this man is proud, “All [the commandments] I have kept from youth.” He is also rich, for Jesus tells him, “You lack one thing.”  Yes, that’s exactly why he’s here and asks, “Good Teacher, What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk. 10:17).

This guy is kind of killing me. He’s so full of himself. Much like my suitcase, he’s prepared with his credentials, competencies, and accumulations. If there is any need of which he is aware, he’s sure to have something in his bag of tricks on which he can fall back. He doesn’t even see how his self-sufficiency is getting him sideways with Jesus.

Asked to sell off his trinkets and treasures, he declines. Instead of following Jesus, he returns to the sorrow of his own making. He didn’t really want to join the Jesus kingdom; he was more interested in adding the security of Jesus to the kingdom he already had.

Jesus explains the man’s condition:

“Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25).

John Wesley says the best way to understand what Jesus means is to read the verse as, “How hard it is for a person to cast off his trust in riches.” Yes, how easy it is for the bright, shiny things of wealth and the comforts of over-stuffed suitcases to blind us from seeing how great is our need for Jesus.

It takes a blind man to bring into focus what is true faith.

“And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Mark 10:47-48).

The title ‘Son of David’ is significant. This is an acknowledgment that Jesus is a king, of the order of David, the one on whom rests Israel’s majestic history and future hopes. Unlike the rich young ruler who wants Jesus to complete his kingdom, the blind man begs for mercy that he might enjoy the inheritance of the kingdom where Jesus rules and reigns.

A beggar brings nothing into the kingdom and for this blind man he isn’t going to let anything keep him out. Jesus, hearing the persistent plea for mercy, calls for the man and he responds, “throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus” (Mark 10:50). The one thing he has, his cloak, he casts it away. His blindness doesn’t keep him from seeing the greatness of his need, or Jesus’ ability to meet it. He won’t be slowed down or tripped up by a cloak, or his pride. He casts aside anything and everything except for trust in Jesus. Jesus calls it faith; the blind man discovers it is sight.

I can’t help but wonder where I may be sitting with a suitcase of self-sufficiency too heavy to carry and with pride too glaring for sight. The wealth I stuff in my suitcase can be more than literal money and the things it can buy. It can also be knowledge, skills, and giftings. There are even days when I am rich with the rusty “treasures” of un-forgiveness, bitterness, and resentment. I drag them along in a bag with two wheels, just in case I need a little buzz of self-righteous judgment. But all these things are weighing me down, burying me under the kingdom of my own making and Jesus is looking at me and loving me and pleading, “Give it all up, heaven has better treasures for you; give up control, trust me and come follow me” (Mark 10:21, paraphrase mine).

I have a choice, and so do you. We can hold to our rule and riches, choosing to be disheartened and to go away sorrowful. Or we can take heart, get up, and respond to Christ’s call.  We can choose to be beggars, blind, yet bravely crying, “King Jesus, have mercy on me!” We can cast off caution and control to the winds of his grace and follow him into the way of eternal life and his kingdom where the last are first, the blind see, and the poor are made truly rich.

image credit: geishaboy500 cc

Today’s Question: How can you choose to be a beggar, blind, crying out to Jesus today?

BrendaC_200Brenda is passionate for Christ-followers to display God’s words and works as captivatingly beautiful. She has served in various ministerial and nonprofit roles, and is currently working on her M.Div. (at Fuller Theological Seminary) where she is delighting in new discoveries of her Savior and Scripture. She is a regular teacher of Bible studies and a hope coach for the wounded, weary and wandering. Sometimes she does laundry, but only when it’s absolutely imperative. She loves days spent in the garden, sharing a good meal with friends, and the exuberant devotion of her two Basset Hounds. She may or may not have an unhealthy relationship with coffee, chocolate, and book buying. She lives outside of Los Angeles with her husband of twenty-two years and is a mom to two college-age boys who grew up way too fast. She writes about truth, beauty, and God’s goodness at OnceUponATruth.wordpress.com.

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2 Comments

  1. You vulnerably and wisely exposited one of the most challenging portions of Scripture…where the rubber meets the road in walking with Christ…thank you for the exquisite exhortation…

  2. Pingback: Rich With Rusty Treasures | Once Upon a Truth

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