301. Couldn’t or Wouldn’t

“We’ve talked about him before,” Stan began, “but this morning my attention was drawn back to the story of the fellow known as ‘The Rich Young Ruler’.” [Note to reader:  See Posting Number 194, “The Sum of Choices.]

“What were you looking at?” I replied.

“Well,” Stan said, “you remember the story.  He asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life.  When Jesus gave him a list of things, the young man said, in essence, ‘Been there, done that’.”

“Jesus then told the young man that there was one more thing to do.  He needed to sell all that he had, distribute it to the poor, and follow Jesus.”

Continuing, Stan said, “When the man heard those words he became sad because he was very rich.  He left, never to be heard from again.”

“So,” I said, “the man missed eternal life because he couldn’t do what Jesus said.”

“Not so much that he couldn’t,” Stan replied, “but I think because he wouldn’t.”

“The young man did not possess so much that Jesus could not have helped him divest his assets.  I think there was a greater likelihood that the young man was more interested in keeping what he had, rather than getting what he could have.”

“I had the same story,” Stan continued.  “Not that I was rich in worldly goods, but I was very rich in self-focus and did not want to give that up.”

“God finally brought me to the point of showing me that if I was serious about knowing Him, I had to give up all that I held dear in solemn preference for all that He had for me.”

“And I was shown that if I was serious about it, God would do all of the heavy lifting to get me to where He wanted me to be.”

“It’s like I was told that if I changed the ‘wouldn’t’ to ‘would’, God would help change the ‘couldn’t’ to ‘could’!”

______________________________

And when Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  But when he had heard these things, he became very sad; for he was extremely rich.   Matthew 18:22, 23.

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, that you want for me all that you have for me.  Please forgive all of the times I have not done what you have asked because I thought it was too hard, that there was too much I simply did not want to give up.  Please open me to see that you do not ask the impossible, but that what you ask of me can be done if I will only ask for your help.  Please change all of my self-focused notions of what I can and cannot do, to the focus on the fact that if I will just decide to go with you it will be a done deal.  Please lead and help me to follow.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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