God alone is enough
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Matthew 19: 20
Idolatry isn’t necessarily bowing down to a statue. Idolatry is being afraid to make ourselves vulnerable to God’s future, even if we don’t quite know where we are going. Our temptation to idolatry doesn’t mean we stop believing in God; it is about doubting that God alone is enough. And so many of us, as human beings, respond to our anxiety by creating idols. Some turn the responsibility of doing our best into the idol of success. Some turn the wisdom of wise financial planning into the idol of trusting our money. Some might even turn the laws of God or the Commandments into an idol, and in the process forget that mercy trumps sacrifice every time!
How do you respond to your anxiety? Is God alone enough? That this is what the “Rich Young Man” had to wrestle with in Matthew Chapter 19. He wanted the “good life,” but he wasn’t able to trust God enough in order to have it. We are told that this man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Many of us probably have taken it for granted that this young man was asking Jesus about how to go to heaven after he dies. But the phrase, “eternal life” also means “life such as God Himself lives,” or “life that is characteristic of God.”
And the Rich Young Man thinks Jesus is talking about the commandments that he has kept or tried to keep most of his life. But these things did not provide for him the satisfaction and security he so wanted. So, in verse 20, the young man asked Jesus, “What do I still lack?” And Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect…” And the same word which is used here for “perfect” also means “complete.” And isn’t this what every person who has ever lived is searching for? We want to be “complete.” But we aren’t complete, so we try and fill our emptiness with all sorts of things. For some, it is alcohol or drugs. For others, it may be shopping sprees. For the Israelites in Exodus Chapter 32 it was a Golden Calf.
What we so often miss is that God alone is more than enough!! God alone is all we need in order to be “complete”!! Only a life totally dedicated to God will bring us life and life to the full. But if we are trying to live with one foot in the Kingdom of God and the other in the world, we will not experience true joy and God’s Peace. In order to be complete we must be empty. In order to have everything we must have nothing. In order to be fully signed up for God’s service, we must be signed off from everything that would get in the way.
For the rich young man, his possessions had become his idol, his security, the demon that was killing his joy, but still he wouldn’t let go. And so he walked away from Jesus “sad.” Do you feel as if there is something in your life that you lack? What is holding you back from serving God with “completeness?” Whatever it is, get rid of it, and you will have all you need. Then, come, follow Jesus. God knows our anxiety. God knows what is troubling us. And God alone can heal us, comfort us and save us.
None of us know what the future holds. We are living in crazy economic times. Our health may be good today, but gone tomorrow. The rich young man wanted God, but he wanted his security blanket as well, just in case God wasn’t up to the job. God holds the future in God’s divine and loving hands. In Christ we can trust in God’s future, even if it seems hazy to us. We get no guarantees that everything will work out the way we want it to, but we do get the assurance that God is with us at all times in the journey. And that is what makes our lives complete. All of history and what lies beyond history are in God’s hands. God is good. God is Love. God is faithful. God is enough. Let us trust God!!
Question to Ponder:
Is God alone enough for me?
Have a Christ Centred New Year 2022 and May He alone is enough for you!!