December 05, 2009

The Incomplete List

Mark 10:17-25

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said.
Mark 10:21


The young man wanted eternal life. That’s not a bad thing to ask for, is it? We want to know the steps and practices that will get us the kind of life we’ve always wanted. Our opinion of Jesus rises higher if we think he can deliver life beyond life.

The young man ran to Jesus with a simple request: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus reminded him of the commandments God had given his people (see Exodus 20:1-17), and the young man was sure he measured up, until Jesus said he lacked one thing— and that had to do with the heart of God’s law.

The young man was obsessed with his “to do” list. But notice what Mark says: “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” When we become overly concerned about completing our list to get what we want out of life, we miss the look of love from the Savior; we lose sight of God’s love for us and for others.

Jesus knew the young man would not be willing to sell his possessions because his own puny kingdom would collapse without them. Though the young man claimed to obey God, he was really only serving himself. He could not find the humble life of discipleship because being rich and having status was the only life he really wanted. He was blinded to the greatest treasure in the world—walking with King Jesus. How about you?

Forgive me, Lord, for being obsessed with my list and not seeing how much you love me and others. Help me see how living for you means showing your love to others. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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