The would be disciple who said no

Bartimaeus, possession is nine tenths of our demise. Fooled by allure, we think possession conveys who we are. How is it we think our possessions give us status and image, a pride in attaining the first nine compelling us to want the last tenth? The truth is one tenth is enough, an abundance in God’s eyes. And should we give nine tenths of that one back to God, He provides for all we need. Not that it’s a bargain with Him, something the tempter wishes us to believe, but all comes from Him.

Simon, what makes you believe all this?

I met a man one day on the banks of the Jordan. We had a conversation about the commandments and eternal life. He was the one they called Jesus, the Christ.

You met Jesus?

Yes. It was a chance meeting. I didn’t think I would have another opportunity, so I asked him three questions. He told me to sell all I owned and follow him. It was twenty years ago. I was young and coveted much. The Romans should never have crucified him. What a shame to kill a young man, especially one so wise.

But Simon, you are a wealthy man. Think of all the good you do with your wealth.

Good? Good? Jesus said to me no one is good but the Father. He puzzled me by this statement, but my years taught me if I have any good, it comes from God. If there be any other than good, it is from myself. From myself, from men, good is tinged with selfish desire. It withers and fades. From God, it grows and branches and finds its object upon which to shine, revealing not simply the object but God Himself. Blessed is the man on whom God’s light shines, whose good comes from God. Jesus was such a man.

I could have chosen Christ and followed him. Instead, I chose my comfortable life. This was unwise. Sorrow follows me, still. Do you understand, Bartimaeus? Christ is all. I learned the hard way. I could not forget my conversation with him. Every possession I owned—my stately house, my silk garments, my silver, my animals and land—seemed insignificant compared to His presence. And I came so close to the true treasure, not of possession, even possessive, but of closeness to God without anything between us.

But Simon, you have kept the commandments. You can be proud.

Bartimaeus, pride is strangled by the clutched hands of those who carry it to hell. Pride condemns men with consolation. Obedience to God’s will opens you to eternal life. My sorrow filled me because I refused his offer and I knew it. Knowledge is not knowing, my friend.

Simon, why is your head bowed? Has your sorrow finally taken your strength?

No, Bartimaeus, today my sorrow lifts. My head bows in humility for on this day I have sold all I own and given it to the poor. Today, I claim Christ as Lord and Savior. Today, Christ redeems his would- be disciple who said no.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *