Rich Man, Beggar Man

 "Jesus felt genuine love for this man as He looked at him. 'You lack only one thing,' He told him,'Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.' At this time the man's face fell, and he went sadly away because he had many possessions." Mark 10:21-22....."When Bartimaeus was sitting beside the road as Jesus was nearby, he began to shout out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'....."When Jesus heard him, He stopped and said 'Tell him to come here........What do you want Me to do for you?' Jesus asked. 'Teacher,' the blind man said, 'I want to see!' And Jesus said to him, 'Go your way. Your faith has healed you.' And instantly the blind man could see! Then he followed Jesus down the road." Mark 10:47,49,51-52...."How much like the rich young ruler are you and I? Walking away from Jesus with full hands and an empty heart." Mark Batterson


I was struck today by the similarity and yet huge difference between the rich young man and the blind beggar Bartimaeus. I was also struck by how little we see of ourselves in these passages, especially as both rich man and beggar man. First off, few of us consider ourselves rich, even though here in America, we are stupendously so in comparison with the vast majority of the world. Yet one doesn't have to be rich in monetary things to have the same heart problem that afflicted the rich man. We can have little and yet cling to what we do have with all our strength. We may not have much, but our hands are full with what we do possess. And what we hold in our hands may not always be that which we can count and itemize. Our hands can be filled with our relationships, families, children, jobs, and especially, our ministries. Like the rich young man, we want to follow Him. We want the fullness of Kingdom life, but those things we consider to have greater value fill our lives while keeping our hearts empty. We walk away from Jesus still clutching those things. Saddened, knowing we are missing Him, but unable to release our treasures to Him. In response to the young man Jesus said, "It is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." To lay hold of Kingdom life, we have to let go of that which is not life. That is hard on the flesh. Impossible really. Can we do that? Have we done that? Or, do we day by day walk away from Jesus with, as Batterson says, full hands and empty hearts?

Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, also wished for the fullness of His life. For him that meant receiving his sight. He desired sight with all of his heart, yet there had to be an equally and perhaps even greater desire for something more, for when Christ opened his eyes, he didn't just rejoice to be able to see, he rejoiced in that he could now see Christ....and he followed him down the road.....wherever that road was going to lead. We give lip service to admitting that we are blind beggars apart from Christ, but I don't think many of us really see ourselves as such. Rich or poor, we cling to our self-sufficiency and self-righteousness. We're carrying too much in our hands to admit we are nothing more than blind beggars in desperate need of Him. We want Jesus, but as I saw it put, we want lots of other 'thorny' things as well. As Christ said, those thorny things choke out His life in us. They blind us not only to Him, but of our deep need of Him. Do they choke and blind us even now?

Are you and I in our day to day lives really entering into the fullness of His Kingdom life? It's abundance, victory, and wholeness? Or, are the riches in our hands keeping our hearts empty as we strive to keep them full? Are we truly following Jesus down the road, or walking away, clinging to "stuff" instead of Him? The rich young man's riches caused his face to fall. The blind beggars lack brought to him real sight and the fullness of joy. In their faces could be seen either the lack or presence of His Life and Kingdom. When people behold our faces, what do they see?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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