Liverpool District Synod 8/09/2018
Text Mt 19:16-22
Key text that stood out to me: ‘What one thing must I do to get eternal life?’
DC Sheryl Anderson told a tale of a Holy woman who found a precious stone in a river but later gave it away to a man she encountered who asked for it. The man left and then returned to find out what it was that the holy woman had that she could freely give away a great treasure. This is the basis for the image but overlaid into it is something else that occurred to me from the text.
In the text I saw an impetus youth looking for the simple straightforward answer to know what guarantees eternal life. Jesus kept pointing him to a relationship with his God; the starting point and fulfilment of the ten commandments and the direct call to follow Christ. The cost was to give away his great treasure. Why? presumably because it was a burden to the journey to eternal life, a hindrance. However it might also be to demonstrate his rejection of the idea that wealth is God’s blessing upon the righteous.
The big question being asked by Methodism seems to be ‘What one thing must we do to see growth again?’ We are seeking the magic bullet that will solve our problems; the shortage of ministers, ageing congregations, the lack of people to take on the tasks of the church. This for me was the touching point with the text and I wonder if the answer Jesus gives is the same.
‘Oh yes we have done these things since our childhood’ (But is it working?)
What would it mean for us to cast aside those treasures we hold tightly to? What misconceptions of what makes for faithfulness in our stewardship, mission and worship of God are we rejecting when we do so that we might journey on with Christ to learn what is truly needed?