If you are prepared to lay down all of you to get all of Christ you will never be disappointed. You will enter a realm of unlimited spirit and life. This was Jesus’ offer to the rich young ruler whom Jesus loved. But Jesus’ love for him did not precipitate this knowledgeable young man into the spirit and life of Jesus’ Kingdom. It required something of the young man – the yielding of all that he was to gain his real and genuine self. This able young man remained un-reborn and non-regenerated – a son notionally but not in spirit and in truth.
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” It’s the selling everything you have that is the issue here – not giving to the poor. Where is our identity, our treasure?
EYES THAT SEE
We can spend our lives in a second-rate identity and a coma of Christian conformity like one of those blind fish who swim in caves where there is no light. Even if we are surrounded by light. We can go to conferences advocating some key or some method to revive what we know and are used to. This is what we are doing when we insist on using a holy spirit tonic to revive an old covenant culture. But if we do, we will not see that what we are used to and know is what separates us from the spirit and life that is our inheritance. We will continue to imagine that we have spirit and life and to rationalise the drops of grace in which we paddle as the leading of God. Richard Rohr writes,
“If we bring to a retreat all the baggage and mentality of business as usual, we aren’t really making a “retreat.” So nothing new or transformative can happen. I’ve given lots of retreats. Certain people come to hear what they already know. If I say something they don’t know, I can see their arms cross and they mentally pack up and leave. But if we hear only what we already know, we simply cannot learn or grow. That attitude is a sure ticket to ignorance. Alcoholics say that without humility and honesty, nothing new happens. These virtues, humility and honesty, are the foundation of all spirituality, but they are hard won.” (1)
Unless we are embedded and rooted in our new covenant union with God, nothing new happens. Or if it does it eventually reverts to the same old, same old. We keep circling the mulberry bush looking for some new key or revisiting old thrills in an effort to breathe life into our dead horse. The pure in heart see God and find themselves. They become ministers of spirit and life. They are valid promoters of the Kingdom because they are competent as new covenant ministers. With a divided heart we commit to a divided mind and see through a glass darkly, secure in ‘what we know’ but dying because we refuse to grow. This is the spectacle of the man who stagnated. He hid his talent in the ground because his Lord was a ‘hard man’ and was expecting too much by asking us to leave all and follow Him. Had he done so he could have become another ‘Paul’ and become a promoter of Christ our life. But as it was he faded and was re-absorbed into ‘what he already knew.’
(1) Rohr, Richard. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (p. 48). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.