Most of us Christians long to follow Christ. That makes sense, right? We believe that we want to. We fall short of that many days, and the rich man in today’s Gospel is no exception. You can almost feel his desire as he kneels before Jesus and asks how he can inherit eternal life. I love the first part of this exchange. The young man knows and has kept the proper way to his inheritance and Jesus meets him with great love.
Looking deeply and lovingly into his eyes, Jesus says only one thing then remains for this man to do: Sell what you own, give the money to the poor, and follow the Christ. Do you feel this man’s sorrow and struggle as he balks at this request. He is shocked. How can he give away all his possessions? He has so many. A camel will easier enter an eye of a needle than a rich man will enter heaven. While it is easy to feel superior to this man, we must only think for a few moments to realize we too cling to our possessions. We place them before our devotion to Christ.
Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday and then Lent begins on Wednesday. If you thought for a moment of the most challenging item you had to give up, what would it be? What is it that you cannot do 40 days without? What is it that keeps you from following Jesus completely? Can you let it go in these weeks ahead? Will that camel do a better job than you? Or can you lighten your load and settle gently as if you are a butterfly on a flower? Let go of that which binds you to anything but Christ in this Lenten journey. Be free. Fly. Surrender. Walk through that needle with joy in your heart. Now is the time for transformation.