17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments:”You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.”‘ 20He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Take a moment to look at this icon of Jesus and the rich young man (the story in this gospel passage). From the text, we might come away thinking Jesus has cast this man off; that Jesus doesn’t care for him. But look closely. Notice that Jesus is blessing the man (Jesus’ hand is held in the traditional manner of blessing).
This, to me, is the heart of the gospel. True, Jesus comes with hard words and difficult teachings. But Jesus never casts us aside or leaves us desolate. This day, may the Lord extend his hand of blessing over you and all that you do.
The Rev. Jimmy Abbott