The Greatest Things in Life Are Not Things

The greatest things in life are not things.  This is clearly revealed in an encounter between Jesus and a rich man documented in Mark 10 17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”  20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”  21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.  This is an emotionally moving experience.  A man wants to know Christ; however, Jesus sees something in this man’s heart that is keeping him from the Kingdom.  The things that he owned were his idols.  Notice the part of the passage that I emboldened. “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”  He said to the rich man, Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Jesus had to tell this man in love that things were his idols, and he would never understand the Kingdom placing things before his love and commitment to the Lord.  So, life is not about things.  In fact, things can hinder our life with Jesus.

In another encounter Jesus tells His audience what the greatest things in life are.  This is recorded in Matthew 22 35 One of Pharisees, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Jesus summed everything up for us.  The greatest things in life are relationships.  Foremost of all, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Then, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Everything in life hinges on your relationship with the Lord and your love of your neighbor (your family, friends, enemies and others).

Jesus makes an unbelievable declaration in John 13, 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  In other words, Jesus says that the greatest things in life are relationships and “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  Amen!

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