Oh poor rich man! You follow the commandments but ask for more. You want to please God and grow closer but your many possessions stand in the way. What stands in my way to growing closer to Christ? Matthew 19:16-22
O Lord, let me count the ways. Do I sigh when someone asks a favor or rise to meet it? Do I extend my hand to those in need or count my bank balance? Do I share the food in my pantry by bringing someone in need a meal or close the door and walk away? You asked us to obey the commandments and we make excuses. What is stealing? What about times of taking advantage of loopholes in business contracts? Not giving you honor by defending another because it could cause division? What is killing? Murder, yes of course, but also abortion and cutting another down with insults, abuse and gossip. And how do I love my neighbor as myself? Big sigh.
I say my heart is soft and loving but does it move my feet? Do I avoid, walk away or give less than I can? Is my heart capable of loving like Christ does or is it by what I deem important and right? Some would say I am being scrupulous – that I am a holy person and too hard on myself. Really?
I think the proof is in my feet. I need to recognize and adjust to where they are leading me throughout my day. I can’t step on the scale once a month and expect it to be where I want it when I don’t monitor my food and exercise intake. I can’t expect God to say welcome, good and faithful servant on the day I leave this earth if I’ve only checked in with him when it was convenient. Turn on the lights for me God. I’m trying – I have a reminder at noon, three and eight on my phone – which I often ignore – but it is an attempt to check in with you. To check in with prayer. To bring you into every part of my day and not just the hour or two first thing in the morning.
Perhaps that is why the rich man was so unhappy walking away when Christ told him to sell all he had and to follow him. He had his check boxes checked off; he was on autopilot for charity and was expecting praise. Jesus didn’t refute what he had given; he just asked him to keep moving forward. Feet must move towards him – that’s why life is a journey. If we only spend the time lifting our feet in the same place of our comforts we will never progress.
It’s a never ending battle with sin – anyone who says differently isn’t truthful. But I have found that evil will wait for my weakness and then pounce on me; taking me off guard and I falter. But Christ, who I have asked to walk with me; allows me to see both him and the temptation and then to choose one. He doesn’t correct my steps; he shows me the way. He shows me how my heart must move my feet.
So is my heart cold or warm? A giving one or sleeping one? How does the blood from my heart move my feet? Are they getting frostbitten and choose to just stand and stomp? Do they run to those in need or to the church in praise, worship and adoration for all I have been given? Do I give freely or expect something in return?
Oh Lord, help me to see my failings quicker and come before you with a sorrowful and repentant heart. Help me to move with compassion and love to others and not count the cost. I want to follow you. I desire your love, and choose faithfulness and trust in your ways. Please help me to move my possessions and things that stand between us out of the way so that I may have feet that run to you, thank you, and offer myself to you. I know you are saddened when I fail, but you always find a way to pick me up to become better than I was before. Thank you for your love, for your words to help me adjust my heart and feet to be in step with yours. Watch over us Lord, guide us always. We need you even when we don’t realize it.