One thing you lack

St. Charles. My home away from home. The home that has been my home as far as I can remember. I love this place.

Chris left this morning for Ignite, a conference that our church goes to every couple years. The reason he left without me is because one week from today I am taking my GRE for graduate school. I decided that since this is my only week not working (Christmas break!), I should probably use this break productively and study. Well, look at me now... downtown Main Street at Picasso's Cafe blogging. Yet, this is a well needed and deserved time as well, just as important as studying, if not more.

I've been walking through a guided reading plan called 30 Days with Jesus through Zondervan. It's been a really helpful tool for me to stay disciplined to read each day, which is something I have failed to do for most of this year. If you're like me and like to have a plan, you can find it here to check it out.

This reading plan walks through basic pieces of scripture that Jesus shows us. Some of these verses stand out to me. All I have read previously, but many have been overlooked. This morning one piece of scripture in particular stood out to me.

Mark 10: 17-23

Jesus is walking down the street, hanging out with his disciples when a man runs up to him, falls on his knees in front of him and says, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Or more simply put, "How can I get into heaven?"

First of all Jesus corrects him with the whole "good" label. Of course. He would. "Why do you call me good? No one is good except my Father." With that out of the way he went on, "You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother." (Only 6/10) Maybe Mark thought we could figure out the rest.

But he doesn't stop there. I bet Jesus is standing there, just waiting for the man to ask more, because he knows the man is going to ask more.

So the guy goes on, "Well I've already done all these things since I was a boy. All my life I have done these things."

Jesus takes his opportunity. "One thing you lack. Go sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Ok. Pause here. Something stands out to me: legalism. This guy basically comes to Jesus and says he wants to follow him. What can I do? And the Lord gives him the most obvious response first: follow the commandments. The guy says, "I've done these things since I was a boy." But Jesus doesn't stop there. I think that Jesus knew the man would ask these things, and I think that he also knew that the man had already been doing these things his whole life. He was probably a good kid. He listened to his momma. He followed directions. He went to church and prayed.

Yet he was still lacking.
Jesus says, "One thing you lack." He doesn't say, "Ok, good. That's all. You can come and hang out with me and my disciples. You're golden." Even after the man declares that he already doesn't steal, doesn't commit adultery, doesn't lie, murder, etc. he is still lacking!

I think often in our society people think if they are good, go to church, and don't do bad things (don't commit adultery, murder, steal, etc) then they are following the Lord and are sure to have a ticket to heaven. But this scripture makes me question if that is really true. I think if that were the case, if all we needed to get into heaven was to keep the commandments and be good, then Jesus would have stopped there. But he doesn't. He goes on.

He says this: "Go sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

What?...

Everything?

I wonder if this guy looked around to see if anyone was laughing. Is he joking? Maybe he just thought it in his head. I think I would have. You want me to sell everything? It wasn't, "Go sell those extra donkeys you've been hoarding in your back room, or go sell that pair of sandals you have sitting your closet that you got for your birthday 2 years ago and never wear." He said everything.

Hm.

What comes next is sad. Mark writes, "The man's face fell." He couldn't do it. He couldn't part from his riches. The Bible says he went away sad because he had great wealth. At this Jesus looked around and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God."

My struggle is how to interpret this. I could interpret this legalistically: I need to go home to Columbia, sell my bed, couch, plates, food, clothes and live a naked life in my bare apartment. Or I could take this humbly and beautifully and see this as an opportunity to simplifiy and serve others.

You see this piece is scripture is particularly interesting to me because I believe for the last few months the Lord has been calling me to a life of simplicity. The weird thing is, I had this call and idea of why it is important for me to simplify but had no scripture in my mind that could give me justification for why it was important. I asked God to show me why, and this morning he did.

We started our simplification process by selling the furniture in our house that was really unnecessary and taking up space. We sold our spare bed and a chair. Then we began selling old prom dresses of mine (7 to be exact. Who still has 7 dresses from high school? I do because I am a Class 1. Hoarder).

But the Lord showed me something else this morning.

Jesus tells the man to sell everything and give to the poor. Darn, that means we can't sell all our old stuff and keep the money to buy new things? Nope, give it to the poor Aimee.

So, I've decided this morning that any money I make from those dresses and possibly the next things I start selling on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist (we have more things to sell), I'm going to stick into this little jar on my dresser. Once I get some money in that jar I'm going to find something I can do with it to help the homeless guys downtown that Chris and I hang out with. Who know's what God will use the money for... Maybe He will finally allow us have that pancake breakfast I've been dreaming about? Maybe He will have us use the money to get the guys some new warm gloves, hats, or coats? Maybe He will use it for us to buy them a regular cup of joe and footlong sub? Either way, I'm excited to simplify and serve them this coming year.

You can find my dresses for sale on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

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