Some days I feel like that one pretty good guy in the Bible.
I come to Jesus and I’m like, “Hey, I just need to check. Am I doing this whole life thing right? What must a guy like me do to inherit heaven?”
Jesus looks at him with a secret waiting behind his eyes and replies, “Do not murder. Do not lie. Honor your mom and pop. You know, all that stuff you’ve been doing.”
And I get this feeling that as the dude says, “Cool, thanks so much. I was just making sure,” he starts to turn away. But he notices this wise teacher guy has something more to tell him, if he’s open to hearing.
He turns back and is like, “But… what?”
And Jesus knows it will be hard to hear, because this guy is the type who wants to check it off the list. Done. I’ve done what I need to do. I can move on to other things.
Just like us sometimes.
But the truth Jesus is about to tell him is that, it doesn’t work like that. The upward path to righteousness has no limit. It has no end. He has built us with an ever growing capacity to be filled with the likeness of God. The beautifying process he is doing within us is never done.
So Jesus replies, his eyes still full of so much compassion (the Bible is sure to mention the compassion), “One thing you lack, my dear friend. Go and sell everything and give it to the poor.”
He knows this seems impossible for this guy, but he wants to show him this is the sort of impossible goal we need to be ever moving towards.
I imagine the guy nodding slowly, wrinkles folding into his forehead. Maybe he mumbles an “Okay. Thanks.” And as he slowly turns away, I’m just imagining what Jesus is thinking.
I know it’s hard, my friend. You are doing so well, and keep it up. But I am ever dreaming that you can be more. You are never done, and that’s the way I want it. Repent and improve every day.
There is nothing wrong with having to repent every day. Seeing new areas we are failing at is not a step backwards. We find new corners of us that can be cleaned and new places to build onto. Repenting is another step forward. It is refining something less good out of, and something new and better into our lives. It’s a humble hike upward.
And that can continue on forever.
Raw Spoon, 10-29-17