Jesus, one thing is needful for us, our relationship with you. Help us not to fill our lives with needless efforts that bring us no closer to you. Guide us, love us, even when it is hard for you and for us. Thanks. Amen.
One to two minutes
What a bummer! Live a perfect life, and still die at the end. I don’t mean to be cynical here, but rather to make a point. For so many people there is a sense that when all is said and done, they deserve a pat on the back for all the hard work, all the efforts put in, all the accomplishments they have achieved. It is as if people do what they do in order to get the kudos that ought to accompany success or noteworthiness. Few would admit to this, “humility” being a virtue. But given the propensity of some to grouse about those who don’t do their share, about those who get a free ride, a “patless” reaction is going on. Jesus gives no fake pat on the back to this rich, arrogant young man, even though the fellow self assuredly asked for it, but rather offered a deflating alternative – now that you have proved yourself so wonderful in the world’s eyes, give it up. The pat on the back will be that you find your life is realized in the life of being a disciple. Careful about the pat-on-the-back kind of life.
Action – Repentance and Creation:
For how many things are you expecting, really expecting, some recognition or acknowledgment today? Make a list for a couple of day, worrying about the pitfall of the “pat-on-the-back” mentality, and see your list gets shorter. Your prayer (above) may be working.