What counts most in your life?
Story: The son of a wealthy man expected to receive a sports car for his graduation.
Instead his Dad called him into his study, told him that he loved him and handed him a wrapped-up present.
When he opened it, he found it to be a box containing a leather bound Bible, with his name inscribed on the spine.
Angrily the young man tossed the box on his father’s desk and stormed out saying: with “With all your money, all you can give me is a Bible!”
And they never spoke again, despite the fact that the young man’s father tried hard to contact him.
Years later, he got a call to say his Dad had died, leaving him everything.
As he was going through his father’s belongings, he found that Bible still in its box.
Curious, he took the Bible out of the box and opened it. The page fell opne at a passage his father had marked. And as he looked at the page, he noticed that his Dad had underlined Mt. 7:11,
“ If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father give whar is good to those who ask Him. “
And as he read it, a car key fell from inside the Bible.
It had a tag with the dealer’s name on it – for the sports car that he had wanted years earlier.
On the tag beside his graduation date we the
words: “Paid in full love Dad.”
The young man missed a wonderful present from his father – because of his greed
Jesus said: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Mt 6:21)
And I think we can say the converse too
Where your treasure is there you will find your heart too.
In our Gospel reading this morning, the rich young man was concerned for the things of God. He came to Jesus and asked him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life
He seemed to be a “good person” but for Jesus that wasn’t enough
Jesus touched a sensitive point when he said to the young man: “ Go sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me. (Mk 10:21)
Jesus touched that area that the young man was not ready to give God – his wealth.
Paul tells us that it is the “love of money that is the root of all evil.” (1 Tim 6:10). Money itself is neutral - it is the love of money that is the problem
And for the rich young man – this was his stumbling block
We never find out if he did ever become a later disciple of Jesus.
But discipleship is what Jesus asks of us if we want to have “eternal life.”
We are called to follow him.
Discipleship is more than simply “believing in God” – Jesus requires more – he requires commitment.
Let me explain the difference between belief and commitment with an illustration
Story: In the late 19th century (1859), Blondin a famous tightrope walker had a tightrope placed across the Niagara Falls in the USA. He then proceeded to walk across it with a wheelbarrow in front of him.
Having reached the other side, he stepped down to the applause of the crowd.
He went up to members of the crowd and asked:
"Do you believe that I can walk back on that rope without falling off?" "Yes" they each replied.
"Do you really believe I can make" he asked. "Yes" they replied. "We’ve just seen you do it"
"Then" said Blondin "Will you please step inside my wheelbarrow and come with me".
"Oh no" they replied "It is far too dangerous".
This is the difference between believing in God - and the full commitment that Jesus requires with discipleship.
Stepping into the wheelbarrow means we really commit ourselves to him.
We give up the things of this world – to follow him
The Early Church did just that – often at the cost of their lives. They were even prepared to become martyrs for following Christ.
The word martyr comes from the Greek word martus – which signified a witness who testifies to a fact of which he has knowledge from personal observation.
In Acts 1:8, Apostles were "witnesses" of all that they had observed in the public life of Christ, as well as of all they had learned from His teaching, and they testifed to this
"in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth" (Catholic Encyclopedia - http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09736b.htm)
And that is the challenge of today’s Gospel reading:
Are we ready to follow Jesus – as his disciple – cost what it may
Or put another way – are we willing to trust him with our lives – and step into his wheelbarrow?