Rich or Bankrupt?
by Mary Alice McGinnis
I recently had a dream. I was riding my bike in a stunning, undulating, hilly landscape. I felt the warmth of the sun on my face and the freshness of the wind against my skin. Soaking it all in,
I began thinking, “This is what I love! This is exactly what my heart needs to be filled with joy! This makes me feel alive.”
Abruptly, the weather turned from sunshine to clouds, clouds changed to rain, and rain became snow. Before I knew what was happening, I slid into a deep crevice in the hillside. I rapidly sank down up to my handlebars in a deep hole filled with snow. I had no way out. If someone did not rescue me, it would mean certain death.
What started out as an epic dream of a lifetime turned into my worst nightmare.
Okay, I know not everyone dreams about a fabulous bike ride in the hills, but think about what you dream about? What fills you with joy and makes you feel alive?
As I was reading today’s story about the rich young ruler, he was searching for what would bring him a lasting feeling of being alive too.
Even though rich, likely he had noticed that what he thought would bring him the sunshine of lasting satisfaction soon turned empty and cold, like hopelessly sinking into a deep crevice of snow.
That is why he comes to Jesus with his question, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Notice he recognizes Jesus as a “Good Teacher.” He tries to glean from Jesus His “best steps to gain lasting satisfaction and never ending life. "
Evidently this rich young man had missed Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Rewind back to Matthew 5:3 - the first beatitude:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
This Greek word for poor means destitute. Notice this says, “poor in spirit.” Spiritually destitute, bankrupt, having no spiritual assets of their own, having to beg for whatever they have.
Jesus loved this young man. When Jesus invites him to trade all his wealth to follow Him, the young man walks away sad because he loved his comfortable, self-attained life more than God. Jesus wanted him to see the futility of his attempts to amass his own spiritual assets to gain life. Jesus pointed him instead to his spiritually bankrupt condition. Jesus offered to him the greatest, most valuable gift of all. The gift of His GRACE.
If we hold fantasies about our own spiritual resources, we will never receive from God what we absolutely need to be saved - His GRACE.
Just like in my dream, the "life" we seek can quickly turn from the sunshine of pleasure to the freezing paralysis of self-sufficiency, leave us feeling hopeless with no way out. When we come to realize there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, that is exactly what can lead us, destitute and broken, back to the feet of Jesus.
He trades all my sorrows, all my brokenness, all my sinfulness with the vast, infinite, immeasurable treasures of the inheritance He has prepared for me and ALL His children.
Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Jesus I am tired of chasing after what I think will bring me lasting joy and life. Bring me to my knees, desperate and needy, begging for your forgiveness. I fall humbly at Your feet, asking You to rescue me. Fill me with Your life giving gift - the inheritance of Your abundant Grace.