Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Next Day

We must begin this text understanding that the man's initial question is flawed. He asks, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Of course the answer is, "Nothing." There is nothing he can do or we can do; it is only in what Christ was about to do for the people of that time and what he has done for us. There are no frequent flyer miles that can be earned.

The man is not interested in pleasing God, growing spiritually or pursuing the truth. He figures he has a firm grip on this life and he wants to ensure the next.

How is it with us? We in our culture today are affluent by world standards, most are educated and we possess much more than we really need. Life is good. In some sense many of us live sheltered lives. Our suffering has been minimal; we have faced few injustices; we live in a world of simple answers and over-simplified theology. God, just tell me what you need and I'll write you a check. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Gracious God, help us in our affluence to understand that there is no price on salvation. Forgive our shallow thoughts and help us to respond to your grace in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Charles Axness
First Lutheran Church, Fremont, Neb.
Master of Divinity , 1993

Mark 10:17-31 (NRSV)

17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

18 Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

19 You know the commandments: 'You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'"

20 He said to him, "Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth."

21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"

24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!

25 "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?"

27 Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible."

28 Peter began to say to him, "Look, we have left everything and followed you."

29 Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news,

30 "who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age--houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions--and in the age to come eternal life.

31 "But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."

This week's devotions are offered by a Luther Seminary alum from the graduating class of 1993.