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Life Or Lists

Jesus invites us into a relationship that isn’t about the lists. His invitation is to a life that is less about doing and more about just being with Him.

I am a list maker.  Sometimes if I do something that wasn’t on my list, I will add it just to be able to check it off and say that I’ve done it.  I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve talked with others of you that do the same thing! It gives us a feeling of accomplishment, of being in control.

You may be familiar with the story of the rich young ruler found in Mark 10:17-30.  Take a moment to read through it. In this passage, we encounter someone who sounds very much like a list maker.  The rich young ruler wanted to know what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus begins with 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.’  I can almost hear the guy now, “check, check, check.”

Many people today have made being a Christian into a watered-down list of do’s and don’ts: Go to church, check; don’t swear, check; be a good kid, check; and the list goes on and on. We are all familiar with “the list” and many times we are so proud of ourselves when we can check something off as done. It’s a very easy trap to fall into.

The next thing Jesus says in the text, essentially calls us to check our hearts.  Jesus calls us to something better than the religion of rule following. He calls us to discipleship, to a relationship.  Verse 21 says, “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.”  In essence, “Come, be with me.”

Jesus calls each of us into a deeper relationship with him just as He did to the rich young ruler. He calls us to give up those things that take first place over him in our hearts. In the case of the man in the story, it was his wealth and position that was preventing him from following.  

Take a moment to honestly insert yourself into the story.  Jesus might not be calling you to sell everything you own, but He is calling you to utmost devotion, to discipleship.  What is it that you would have a hard time giving up to follow him? Is it a favorite TV show when the time would be better spent in the Word?  Is it a schedule so jam packed that there’s really little if any time to connect with him?

Jesus invites us into a relationship that isn’t about the lists. His invitation is to a life that is less about doing and more about just being with Him.  When we focus on following Him, getting to know His heart and His will, the natural by-product will be a life that mirrors His and we will find abundant life.

Father, as we sit with this passage and read through this devotion, may it not become yet another box we check off as done. We ask that your Holy Spirit reveal to us any areas that we need to get rid of in order to fully follow you. In Jesus name,  amen.

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