We love a good story. These stories connect through emotion, humor, and related experiences. Story telling is one of the common themes for the best blog articles on the internet. Jesus Christ, was the greatest blogger of all time. He currently has over infinity followers (although many are not engaged followers), and is still pushing great content. He tells a great story about a man seeking heaven. In Mathew, chapter 19: 16-30, Jesus meets a young rich man who takes this opportunity to assure himself of eternal salvation. Like many of us, this man feels like he is doing all the right things, but still lacks that assurance of salvation. “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus tells him to obey the commandments. Here, he gives a quick run down of the ten commandments. The young man, feeling a little better, yet still unsure replies, ” All of these I observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus, not mincing words replies with the following words that are clear as day, yet so difficult to understand. He says: if you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven”. The man leaves, after hearing this. He leaves in despair because he has many possessions. Jesus, knowing human nature better than anyone, turns to his followers to clarify, ” Again, I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God”. Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells another parable of a rich fool. Luke 12: 16-21, Jesus tells his followers about a rich young man so with so many possessions, he cannot possibly need them all. He tears down his barns and builds bigger and bigger barns to store his stuff. God calls him a fool…:”for tonight your life will be demanded of you…thus it will be the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God”.
barn collapsing (5) (Photo credit: Eric Willis (superic))
God is too smart to buy into simple box checking. He is jealous and wants is all. Trusting in him looks different for each one of us. Living intentionally involves a lot of personal accountability. Sometimes, the 5 am cup of coffee in front of the computer is real lonely. This sense of “me against the world” or at least “me against my unaccomplished goals”, gives me a false sense of empowerment. Am I the one doing the work? I must remind myself that it is not I providing the inspirations, the drive, and tools. God is providing, so that I can ultimately achieve the main goal, and that is living a charitable life of trust and love, where I share my God given talents and treasures with the world and ultimately get to heaven. What good post on intentionality would pose an opportunity such as eternal salvation without at least scratching the surface of instruction. Here is a list of the first 3 things to rid myself of being a rich fool. Take these and make them your own.
1. Be intentional about prayer. Yes, I am actually scheduling prayer time twice per day. Hoping for inspiration to pray is not a good strategy for me. This will come later, once prayer becomes a bigger part of my life. Tailor this to your needs. If you already pray a lot, schedule more time to pray.
2. Read the Bible. Start small and realistic. I am starting with Mathew and reading about 10 minutes per night. Find what works for you. The Bible is God’s instruction manual for everything “awesome”. If you are reading this at the expense of Bible time, your priorities are wrong.
3. Go do something charitable. Don’t just read or write about it, do something. Go to a soup kitchen, thrift shop, local church, etc. Actions are way more impactful than thought.
Time for a barn burner. What treasures are taking space in your heart? What one thing are you intentionally going to change TODAY to fix this?