Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It was indeed a busy but fruitful weekend. I was either still too excited or I had tasted a little bit of milk tea with strong caffeine after the Ordination Service; I was not able to sleep well last night. My body seemed to need longer time to recuperate from exhaustion. But thank God for listening to your prayer that my skin irritation basically subsided, even though my arms were still itchy while I was waiting to fall asleep last night. I was embraced by many of your concerns and love on Sunday. How blessed I am to be in the loving family of God! It took me awhile to warm up after more than a year away from the pulpit at Daly City. I needed to calm down my emotion when I stood in front of the congregation. I lost my vocabulary and I didn’t really know what to say in the beginning. When I refocused on the Lord later on, I was able to finish my preaching. Praise the Lord!
"One thing you lack…Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me" (Mark 10:21). The rich young ruler had the master passion to be perfect. When he saw Jesus Christ, he wanted to be like Him. Our Lord never puts personal holiness to the forefront when He calls a disciple; He puts absolute extermination of my right to myself and identification with Himself - a relationship with Himself in which there is no other relationship. Luke 14:26 (If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple) has nothing to do with salvation or sanctification, but with unconditional identification with Jesus Christ. Very few of us know the absolute "go" of abandonment to Jesus.
"Then Jesus beholding him loved him." The look of Jesus will mean a heart broken for ever from allegiance to any other person or thing. Has Jesus ever looked at you? The look of Jesus transforms and transfixes. Where you are "soft" with God is where the Lord has looked at you. If you are hard and vindictive, insistent on your own way, certain that the other person is more likely to be in the wrong than you are, it is an indication that there are whole tracts of your nature that have never been transformed by His gaze.
"One thing you lack. . ." The only "good thing" from Jesus Christ's point of view is union with Himself and nothing in between.
"Sell everything you have..." I must reduce myself until I am a mere conscious man, I must fundamentally renounce possessions of all kinds, not to save my soul (only one thing saves a man - absolute reliance upon Jesus Christ) - but in order to follow Jesus. "Come, and follow Me." And the road is the way He went.
I believe the “go” that Jesus challenged this religious man to consider is a very fundamental for Christian’s spiritual formation. Unless we are willing to abandon our self-reliance to God, in no way we can lead a godly life. We, human being, have a tendency to depend on ourselves. Our religious baggage also teaches us to rely on our own “meditation, chanting and good deeds” to earn our way into immortality like Buddha. This is a primitive practice of religion. If religion is good enough, then our Lord Jesus did not have to die on the cross for us. We basically could not depend on our effort to earn God’s favor. Jesus described how people attempted to enter the Kingdom of God, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matt 11:12). Unfortunately, not many could achieve this goal like John the Baptist. That’s why Jesus came to provide us a way out. Therefore in the same chapter, Jesus offered, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (11:28). Rest your self reliance on your wisdom and spiritual sensitivity. Abandon yourself totally to the feet of Christ. Let Him take hold of your life and give Him the freedom to glorify His own name through you.
May you have an intimate walk with the Lover of your soul this week!
Love you for His Glory,Lawrence