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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 10:23-27 bible study (June 3, 2024)

June 3, 2024:  Monday Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 10:23-27

May the lovingkindness of Jesus Christ surround you today and always.

Yesterday at church we had a wonderful Asian Cuisine carry-in meal after church. I am still deciding on a theme for the August carry-in. I am not certain when the 4th of July will be celebrated, but I suspect that the 7th will be the time.  That is the Sunday after July 4. If that is the case, I think that we will have a BBQ on the patio which will be hamburgers, the cost will be $2 per person, and bring a dish to share. Any dollar overage will be given to the discretionary fund. Your cost will include a burger (beef or turkey), condiments, buns, beverages, the cost of the grill and charcoal. Extras for you to bring will be chips, salads, and desserts. Sign up at Church. The 7th of July will also be a Gospel Music Sunday. This food is a big change from the full carry-in, but it really does seem to fit the national holiday theme. (If an extra $2 stretches your budget, please come to eat with us as a guest for this meal. We don't want to do it without you!)  Please continue prayers for those who are being treated for cancer, Kandice, Jeff, Steve, Pastor, Heidi, and others you know in your circle of family and friends. And please pray for the family of the victim of gunshot wounds and death, in the neighborhood of our church. Please pray for the perpetrator too that their life will be turned around by God's grace.

Today we are in one of the most troubling passages from the Gospel of Mark because it hits home for all of us as we question how we fit into the equation of this passage. I know that in our culture the cost of living is beyond anything which most of us ever thought prices would go. We may have to be careful with our spending, or perhaps we have done really well in our life, and we have more than adequate funds for living.  In this passage Jesus makes it clear, and we know this struggle! Today many of us live well. We have shelter, food, and financial resources much greater than people in the time of our Lord. So, who are we comparable to? You, see, Jesus takes a Jewish cultural and religious way of thinking and turns it on its ear. It was though that being wealthy was a blessing from God, so guarding one's wealth, and striving to become even more wealthy was seen as being blessed by God. Here Jesus says that there is a huge problem for those who have done well, and here it is!

1. A wealthy person, remember that probably includes all of us, tends to fix the heart of the individual on the things of this world.  If we look at the wealthiest people in our nation, we are often shocked by their desire for billions of dollars more. One of the richest men in the world believes that he deserves 56 billion as a bonus from his car company.  I don't know about you, but how many billions of dollars does it take for a person to be comfortable.  I can promise you this, no one in our congregation is in this position. However, even in our social security, we hope for more next year than we got this year, especially when the costs of living continue to rise. There lies a challenge before us with regards to our faith. What is enough? Like you, I am certain that I could live well on a billion dollars. But just like this rich man, I too have concern about retirement, and college expenses, and transportation, and more. So, we set aside for our retirement, wondering if we will have enough for it. So where does that leave my focus with regards to sharing my wealth with others? My focus is on the world, checking stock market surges and declines. Sound familiar?

2. If a person's interest is only in growing their wealth and reserves, then their life will see everything in terms of its monetary value, with little regard for the true Joy in Christ which might come from their generosity and lovingkindness towards those in need, and in the work of God's Kingdom through Christ's Church!  Focus on accruing more for ones’ self during life becomes an act of maintaining and working to avoid death. After all, there is no growing the bank account in death. 

We all know the common saying "You can't take it with you."  But what you can take with you is the promise of Salvation which Christ has brought to all of us. It's a free gift, and only God can do it in the face of our life struggles to keep things together with regards to having enough!  Christ has come that we might live this life with confidence in His care and love for us, even when we allow wealth to become our god. I don't say this lightly.  This is a struggle that we all have. Selfishness is our sin; selflessness is the Holy Spirit's action which guides us to the work of the Kingdom of God.

What a blessing our congregation has been when we have allowed the Spirit to be our guide with regards to refugee resettlement, world hunger and the global barnyard, disaster relief, and much more, including how we support our congregation, and her members. Whether it is that door that is too hard for us to pass through in the wall of the city of Jerusalem, or it is the measure of the eye of a needle, we need Christ's Grace and Forgiveness to thread our way through it as we allow ourselves to be led to the Kingdom of God, and our home in heaven.

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