If We Could Only Change It: The Choice – 1 – Mark 10:17

Vol. 2, No. 39 – 9-24-2017

And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  Mark 10:17

Jesus spoke to the crowds regarding first, the issue of divorce, and then the importance of children upon the earth—their value. As He began to leave toward His next destination, a man comes running up to ask a question that has been bothering him. It is obvious that he has not been listening to the voice of Jesus. Or, he may have been attempting to find an alternative way to have eternal life, so he sought options because he did not particularly like the only path offered.

A picture of many who gather on Sunday mornings.

This picture is of a self-made person, a high achiever, one who seemingly has it all—he must be wealthy and powerful (but it really does not matter). He is an influencer, perhaps a type-A who is a leader, and wants to be recognized by still another leader, Jesus.

Today’s millennials want everyone to know how smart they are, how much business savvy they have, how physically fit they are, and how deserving they are for doing what they want through any path they choose. They have their BMWs, and the latest iPhone. Accountability and responsibility are of no consequence, they think. Unfortunately, many are failures.

Many are not unlike this man in their approach to people in charge. The attitude is, “We want what we want, and we think we deserve help to get there.” Like this man, they often make four common mistakes of people of the earth (do not neglect thinking about yourself when you read these). The outcomes are predictable.

Good leaders are never “self-made.” It takes a person’s submission to the higher authority in order to achieve what is in the plans of the higher authority (Almighty God).

However there are also more considerations for a leader’s lack of success::

  1. Not dealing with an inescapable problem. Many do not ask, “Who is Jesus?” The question, if we answer, makes us contemplate if He is God—for if He is, then we become accountable to Him. He is more than a good teacher. This is a fundamental consideration that dares not be set aside. If He is the Christ (and He is), then we cannot ignore dealing with this fundamental question.
  2. Thinking that if we only do some “stuff” we can earn His recognition and thus enter eternal life by our method of works and service. So we ask, “What must I do? How can I get a good grade; how can I gain the attention of others?” We ask so that we can make a decision as to whether we want to do what is asked. We think that we are good, or at least as good as others we know or observe. All we want is to be “good enough” so we might pass the tests. That is a mistake, because we do not enter eternal life through percentages of accomplishments.
  3. False assessments reign. “I am OK.” We look at ourselves with assurance that we “got it,” that everything is fine. Our personal scoring on self-esteem is the same; all 9s and 10s (even for the ones who fail). In viewing others, we meet all the standards that humans expect. That is surely enough, isn’t it?.
  4. When we face the honest questions of Jesus, and respond to His invitation, it is with the sense of “Later, I am busy with life; I will give consideration to You at a later date.” When we are pressed for a “yes or no” response, our faces fall, because we sense we have to answer to sovereignty—not ours but His. That is really uncomfortable.

It is a mistake to ignore the questions; the mistakes. It is like walking down the road and coming to a fork. We do not have the luxury of ignoring the fork, we must decide which fork in the road to take. There are no U-turns, we can only enter today; yesterday is gone.

The fork includes facing the questions; a mistake brings outcomes one will not cherish for eternity. One thing you lack!

We often live out of balance in our worship, our family, our work, our church, and in our community of influence.

The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. 1 Timothy 6:11

Substitute for the word “money” whatever focus you have that sets Christ aside. This is a grim mistake that one should passionately resist. The word “money” and its substitutes are on one fork in the road—the other fork is where Christ is waiting. We should take that fork.

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

September 24, 2017

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