Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Rich Guy Needs To Learn To Love

I meet regularly with a young Indonesian man who we're training in aviation type things.  The ground rules are simply that he keeps a log of what he's been reading in the Bible and he shares with me what he's learning.  Our sessions all start with, "So, what's God been teaching you in His Word?"  We then spend most of an hour interacting with something that he's pulled out of his reading.

He's been working through Matthew for the better part of six months.  Matthew is my anchor book in Scripture, particularly chapters 5-7.  I read another book of the Bible, and when I'm done I return and re-read Matthew...move on to another book, then back to Matthew.  I find that I have to return to Jesus' inverted thinking of the Sermon on the Mount to recalibrate my mind on a very regular basis.  All that to say, I spend a fair bit of time in the Gospel of Matthew.  And that is what makes it so amazing to me to see how many new facets and nuances of meaning my young friend pulls out of his readings of Matthew--stuff that I have never seen before and most likely would never see on my own.  Perhaps some of this is due to the fact that he approaches God's Word from a different worldview than I do.  Some of it is surely because he is a different person than I am and he simply notices different things than I do.  But I think the heart of this is that my friend and I are increasingly discovering that the Word is rich with meaning.

So last week my friend is taking me through the Jesus' encounter with the 'rich young ruler' in chapter 19.  He's telling me that one of the things he thinks that Jesus wants the rich guy to do is to learn to love.  I'm thinking "What? This is all about the rich dude's materialism."  Failing to think of something original, I say,


"Well, you know, we really love when we give something away that is completely ours, something that no one else has a right to...and something we really don't want to share.  That's what Jesus is asking this man to do: give away that which belongs to him and give it to people who have no right to it.  Just like Jesus did."

"Huh.  What do you mean, 'just like Jesus did'?"

"Well, Jesus gave us something that up until that time had been uniquely his and his alone: sonship.  The rest of us didn't deserve it, were excluded from it and had no right to it.  But, by paying the price of the cross, Jesus gave us that sonship...made us joint heirs with himself."

Somewhere along this process, I guess I'm supposed to be discipling this young man...but he's blessing my socks off by bringing to light meaning in Jesus' words that I've never seen before.  I guess this is what it's all about...falling in love with Jesus, falling in love with his Word, and if somehow we're party to infecting others with this same disease then we're into the biggest thing going on.


Post a Comment