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Monday, July 6, 2015

Today’s Reading | Luke 18:15–30

People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’” He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.” Then Peter said, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” (NRSV)

Jesus put little stock in traditions. He did not care that certain people were considered more important than others were. In Jesus’ time, children were given little to no status and were certainly not paraded in front of important guests. And yet Jesus calls them forward, honoring them when society would not. In fact, he tells his disciples that they need to be like children if they want to one day enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus goes on to tell the disciples that it is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who have everything, who have learned to be independent and self-sufficient, often lack the humility to act in faith. God challenges us to remember that our worldly ambitions and society’s current understandings of value are fleeting. There is a bigger picture, and we must learn to put aside our personal success and strive for equality.

God, I pray for the wisdom and empathy to put aside my personal concerns and focus on the bigger picture. May I have the courage to give voice to the voiceless, protect the weak, and honor those forgotten by our society. May I remember my success is fleeting and instead empower those around me in order to bring about your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Written by Katie Patterson, Junior High Youth and Mission Coordinator

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