Not the Toothbrush (by Joanna Hulzenga)


Posted on February 21, 2018

Mark 10

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

 

That’s far too much to ask. I couldn’t possibly. Let go of it all? Sell my possessions? Give my money away? And then what?

 

Follow Him.

 

But I’ll need my travel money… my phone… my phone charger, obv… a live stream to keep tabs on the Olympics… A change of clothes? Some snacks? My toothbrush?

That doesn’t seem like a well thought out or logical plan. Nope. No thanks.

 

What then?

 

If I’m not letting go, I’m hanging on. And admittedly, quite tightly. But surely not to bad things. A career I’ve worked hard to establish, relationships that I like to think I selflessly pour into, a reliable vehicle that, let’s face it, in this place, seems nearly an absolute necessity.

But what if I take a layer off of that. What lies beneath? Pride? Self-importance? Self-righteousness? A running measure of “the good” that I’m up to? Expectation that my efforts will be rewarded in a way that I deem fair?

Ugh. The list of what lies beneath isn’t very pretty, and yet I still hang on tight.

 

But Jesus.

 

He looks at me (and my list) and He loves me.

I see that list and I want to hide under a cloak of shame. How could I possibly be saved? Jesus says, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” (Matthew 19:26)

First, Jesus calls me to humble myself apart from my works, open my hands to receive His grace; and then, out of that, can flow radical obedience; which might mean letting go of some things that I’m clinging too tightly to (but perhaps not the toothbrush) and following Jesus.

 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing;

it is the gift of God, not a result of works.” (Ephesians 2:8)

 

—Joanna Hulzenga

Face to Face with Jesus Teaching Series

A Response to Matthew 19:16-29, Mark 10:17-21, Luke 18:18-30