Friday, October 09, 2009

Risky Living: The Good Life

I took the opportunity to write devotions for the first week of our new series Risky Living, which I think will be a very justice-oriented series.

This week we focus on the story of the rich man in Mark 10:17-31. Try reading from a variety of translations throughout the week. Many different translations are available at

Day 1: Read Mark 10:17-31
Consider who you identify with in the story and why. Is it the rich man, searching for something more? Is it the disciples, who are shocked and confused by Jesus’ statement about how hard it is to get into God's kingdom? Is it Peter, who wonders out loud that surely they have already done enough? Or maybe you identify with Jesus, because you have seen or experienced first-hand the iron grip that riches can have over someone's heart.

Day 2: Read Mark 10:17-31 & Matthew 7:7-12
Today; consider the rich man's quest for eternal life. Have you ever thought to yourself; if only I had "fill in the blank", my life would be good? What are you searching for in your life right now - a job, a life partner, a house, a college education, a vacation, a promotion, validation, security, spiritual growth, reconciliation, hope, love?

Day 3: Read Mark 10:17-31 & Genesis 3:9-11
Is there something missing in our make-up that we are looking for to make us whole? Donald Miller, author of Searching for God Knows What suggests that the missing element is our connection to God:
"Man is wired so he gets his glory (his security, his understanding of value, his feeling of purpose, his feeling of rightness with his Maker, his security for eternity) from God and this relationship is so strong, and God’s love so pure, that Adam and Eve felt no insecurity at all... But when that relationship was broken, they knew it instantly. All of their glory, the glory that came from God, was gone... All of the insecurity rises the instant you realize you are alone.
If man was wired so that something outside himself told him who he was, and if God’s presence was giving him a feeling of fulfillment, then when that relationship was broken, a man would be pining for other people to tell him that he was good, right, okay with the world, and eternally secure."

Day 4: Read Mark 10:17-31 & Mark 10:42-45
Is there an antidote for this missing element? Jesus told his disciples that there is, but it is a radical procedure: “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.” Glenn McDonald, author of The Disciple Making Church says, “We have managed to do something that the early Christians would not have thought possible. We have made Christianity safe, middle-class, comfortable. Even when we acknowledge the words of Jesus, we tame them.” Consider how you might be taming the words of Jesus.

Day 5: Read Mark 10:17-31 & Luke 14:25-33
In our culture, this message of servanthood almost always ends up sounding negative instead of positive: Give it up, lose your life, be a servant. We want to know why, what’s in it for me? There are not many things for which we humans are willing to make large sacrifices. Consider how being rich with stuff makes this sacrifice more difficult than for those without. Consider where the Holy Spirit is leading you and acknowledge what following this call will cost you.

No comments: