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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mansion Inn Wedding Arbor
Cameron Inn Wedding Arbor
(From our Sunday afternoon walk)

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"Going Away Sad"
"When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth" (Matthew 19:22).
I have a friend in church who wears an interesting t-shirt that reads, "He who dies with the most toys, still dies."  Many of you have seen what may be called a motto of the world, "He who dies with the most toys wins."  I've often seen this as a bumper sticker on huge four-wheel drive pickups!  Many live as though material accumulation is their only major goal in life.
The daily verse is one of the most somber in the entire Bible and is a microcosm of the choices each of us make regarding our life's focus.  Will our focus be directed to earth's immediate rewards or to the Kingdom of God that promises future, eternal rewards which are incomparably better?  In our text the rich young man had approached Jesus as an earnest seeker.  Jesus summed up discipleship when He called him to sell his possessions and follow Him.

But "he went away sad."  Why?  After all, he was young, successful and had great wealth. What's there to be sad about?   Isn't that what we're supposed to aspire to?

It seems to me that in his heart he knew he was making the wrong choice, but the grip of wealth was so great that he was captivated by it and this narrowed his choices to those dictated by purse strings.  Money cannot mend a broken heart nor can it fill the spiritual void that each of us is born with.
It's interesting to me that the other two synoptic gospels also have this account, each adding a significant detail.  Mark tells us that when Jesus looked on the man He "loved him."  He loves each of us this day and evidence of this is seen in His steadfast love that never ceases.  His manifold mercies are unending and renewed daily, for the believer as well as the unrighteous. 
Luke provides an interesting detail in adding a single adverb that the rich young man became "very sad" (exceedingly, intensely sad).
Still, today, for many there remains in one way or another a consideration of the economic impact of their decision to follow Christ.  Although there is not a universal Biblical call to sell all our possessions, Christ clearly calls each of His followers to a life of commitment and sacrifice when we choose to follow Him.  

I wonder whatever happened to the young man.  For sure he got older; for sure he died.  Did he ever come to his senses and heed Christ's call?   What about you today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Jesus, it's clear in Scripture that the attainment of worldly riches can narrow a person's vision to nearsightedness.  Their sight is fixed upon that which can be experienced only on this side of heaven.  But You've called us to be farsighted in that we lay down anything that hinders our vision of that which is yet to come in the eternal realm. Our goals in this life reach beyond immediate reward and expand to treasures stored up in heaven.  For those entrusted to riches on this side You've instructed to be good stewards and thereby further expanding the message of salvation to those far and near.  All sacrifices made in this life will bring about reward in the life to come.  Help us to be faithful.  Amen.

In yesterday's message I shared an illustration about L.L. Bean and asked what Leon L. Bean's middle names was. Several readers correctly noted that his middle name was "Leonwood" but one alert reader, a pastor friend of mine from here in Mount Joy actually suggested the L. should stand for "Lima".

Some of you indicate you enjoy these exercises so here is another one.  The following are known primarily by their initials.  Do you know what their initials stand for?  (Actually the internet makes this pretty easy.)
  • D.L. Moody
  • A.W. Tozer
  • F.F. Bruce
  • C.H. Spurgeon
  • A.B. Simpson
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Harry S. Truman (being from his hometown of Independence, Missouri and graduating from Truman High School, I had to use him!) 

Plate of asparagus
Locally grown asparagus is abundant and for me is a delicious meal all by itself.
(Brooksyne and Ester say "Yech", which is alright by me!)

Brooksyne's Note:  It's true that I usually prepare this green veggie and pass it on to Stephen who is often waiting with fork in hand.  But the last time I prepared it I decided to give it a try since it was freshly harvested from our friend Anna Ruth's garden.  I went only for the tips which I found, to my surprise, were pretty good!  Maybe I'll eat the full stalk next time.  It's the unpleasant smell that has kept me from wanting to eat it in the past, but I'll not let that hinder me in the future!

Personal Ministry Update

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"