THE AMBITION TO “HAVE”
“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?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You 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.’” He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 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.’ When he heard this, he was shocked (στυγνάσας,) by this word and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.” (Mk 10: 17-22)
To give away “what he owned” and to “come, follow” Christ was too much for this man, because he still had the sense of “having” temporal possessions. It’s not his material wealth, per se, which keeps this still-young man (he is called “young” in Mt 19:20) from following the God-Man. It is his false sense of “having” anything at all, which prevents him from recognizing the Everything staring him in the face, and “loving” him. This young man’s vision is only “darkened” (στυγνάσας, made gloomy) by the potentially-liberating Word of God, because his vision is attached to “having” outside Him.
The ambition to “have” what we can only “have” for the time being, temporal possessions, can keep spiritual thirst at bay, while we are still chasing them – because they still fulfill, still seem to be the ultimate “good.” Until they aren’t. Until we begin noticing the “hole in the heart,” which won’t go away, no matter what we seem to “have,” calling us to recognize that nothing and “no one is good, but God alone.”
Today I gratefully recognize this hole in my heart, which has called to me, “looked at me and loved me,” as Christ did at this young man, when I've slipped into chasing shadows. Let me recognize Him today and follow Him, that I may have everything in Him and with Him. Amen!