Summary: A sermon for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost Proper 23 eye and Camel
19th Sunday after Pentecost
17 ¶ And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
19 You know the commandments: ’Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’"
20 And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth."
21 And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
22 At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!"
24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?"
27 Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
28 Peter began to say to him, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you."
29 Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
31 But many that are first will be last, and the last first."RSV
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
For those of you who can remember Jack Benny, I would like to share with you one of his classic stories. For those of you who don’t know Jack, he was a comic of the old school. His main interest was money. He liked money and never wanted to spend any of it. Do you remember the old classic joke: A hold-up man approaches Benny and demands: "Your money or your life." After a pause that seem. like a lifetime, Jack Benny pleads, "I’m thinking .... I ’m thinking . "
Benny had a choice to make. What was it going to be. Choices in life are always difficult to make. Some choices have only a limited consequence for the moment, like what am going to eat, or what am I going to wear today. Other choices involve consequence that can alter life, what am I going to do with myself, how am I going to live, and then other choices involve not only life now, but life for eternity. Do I believe Jesus is my Lord and my savior who has given me the gift of eternal life?
Our gospel lesson this morning can be seen from many different levels, one that is usually used is stewardship. This text is usually used as a stewardship text, how do we use what God has given us? But I would like us to see this text in more than the light of stewardship, I would like to have us zero in on the choice this man had to make, the decision he had to make about his life, because on one level this text for me is a text that can help us to see where you and I place our values of life.
This man approaches Jesus. Notice Mark doesn’t call him the rich young ruler, but only a man. A man, a human being, someone like you and I. This man approaches Jesus with the age old question what must I do to inherit eternal life.? Or to put in another way: "Lord, there is something missing in my life, there is so much that I have been looking for, help me to find it? " This man sensed that something was lacking in his life. His life didn’t seem complete, there was a strange emptiness, there was no feeling of self sanctification, a feeling of self-worth in his life. So he goes to Jesus asking him to help him find the missing piece, to find fulfillment.