Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Selective Listening

I titled this entry "Selective Listening" and now I am going to talk about reading, not listening.  You can deal with it.  To start, here are a couple of Bible passages that I think most Christians are fairly familiar with.
10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."
Jeremiah 29:10-14

16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
 17"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
 18"Which ones?" the man inquired.
   Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"
 20"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
 21Jesus 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."
 22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
 23Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Matthew 19:16-24

What I want to know is, why is it that when we read Jeremiah 29:11, we cling to it as a personal promise, but when we read Matthew 19:21, we say "Oh, that was a specific command for someone else" or "Jesus didn't really mean that" or whatever. 

Bull crap.

The Jeremiah verse also says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  We don't exactly have a line-item veto here.  You can't sit there and tell God, "I want the part about prospering and hope and a future, but I can do without this seeking you stuff."  Most of us aren't even thinking about asking, "What do I still lack?" because we aren't even sure we have to honor our parents and do all that.  We're in negotiations or something.

As Christians, we are supposed to try to become like Christ.  Christ didn't have any earthly possessions besides the clothes on his back.  All of the apostles gave up everything they had to follow him.  Who are we to think that we can follow Christ and not give up anything? 

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