Summary: Sermon for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost, Year B
Mark 10: 17 – 22 / What Do You Lack?
Intro: I believe something happened to my generation in post-World War 2 America. We seem to be a generation looking for something, searching for something, looking for answers; yet, we don’t know what the questions really are. We have talent, education, and credentials. Some, like me, even have good looks. - - - One thing we seem to lack is confidence. Many are looking for answers but are running scared. Perhaps we are afraid we won’t like the answers we find or we fail to accept the fact that there are more questions than answers.
I. Back in 1969 when I graduated from college, I had more questions than answers and decided to go to seminary to find answers to the questions I had about God. I found that I was not alone with my questions.
A. Jesus had questions: “Who do men say that I am?” He asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his own soul?” Jesus asked the Pharisees, “If you don’t believe Moses, how will you believe me?” Jesus asked Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” And in the end Jesus asked God, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
B. Others in the Bible has questions as well: Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Abraham asked, “Can we find just 10 godd men?” Joseph asked, “How can I sin against God?” Moses asked, “Whom shall I say has sent me?” David asked, “Whom shall I fear?” Job asked, “God, why was I ever born?” The Psalmist asked, “How can I sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” The disciples asked, “Who’s going to be the greatest in the kingdom?” John the Baptist asked, “Are you really the One?” The people asked, “Is Jesus really the Son of God?”
C. What I discovered in seminary was questions about God were nothing new. Today, we live in a world with people with all kinds of questions, looking for all kinds of answers. They want the quick fix, the fast solution, the rush to the finish, the quick answer.
READ MARK 10: 17 - 22
II. Have you ever met someone who asked you a question and after your answer they tell you that you’re wrong? Why ask a question if you already have your mind made up to what the answer is? VS. 17 – “good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
A. What is the difference between earning something or inheriting it? An inheritance is something you receive simply because it is given to you. You don’t do anything to earn it or to get it.
B. To earn something implies that you have to put forth some money, effort, time or a combination of those things in order to get what you want.
C. You and I are often like that man who came to Jesus long ago. We have questions. We approach God asking what we have to do to earn God’s favor. Surely there is something we have to DO to earn forgiveness, life and salvation!
III. VSS. 18 – 20 The man and Jesus go through a checklist ticking off each item. It appears the simple answer is to obey the law.
A. Spiritual Jack Horner --- What a good boy am I! “I have kept all these since my youth.” I’m a good person!
B. The ultimate questions here is this: “Is being a good person enough?”
C. VS. 21 – “You lack one thing; go, sell what you won, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
Conclu: Mark’s story is not about the money. It is about surrender. The man lacked the ability to surrender everything and follow Christ. Often, that is what is missing in our lives. We lack the ability to surrender our whole self to someone else or to something greater than ourselves.
The verbs Jesus uses are powerful: GO, SELL, GIVE, COME, FOLLOW. The can all be summarized in one word: SURRENDER.
What do we lack that keeps us from surrendering all to Christ Jesus? Like the man in this lesson, one word: courage.
VS. 22 – “When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving for he had many possessions.”