Scripture: Mark 10:17-31
Sermon: “Threading Our Needles”
“Jesus, looking at the rich man, 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.”
What exactly is Jesus asking of those who say that they are his followers? So, we started not by making a checklist of entry requirements for eternal life, but to think more about tending to our spiritual lives in the here and now. I think, ultimately, that is what Jesus is asking his followers to do: to listen more deeply to all the threads in their lives and learn what spiritual threads we need to add, what threads we need to let go, and what scraps we need to hand over to God to make whole.
There are many we can choose, but four were highlighted:
Loving God by nurturing a prayer life, or a contemplative or meditative life with God. Whatever helps you create a quiet contemplative time with God in your faith life, pick up that thread and nurture it. Or add it to your daily or weekly routine.
Being in fellowship with others through service. But what we bring as followers of Christ is the focus on the fellowship and the relationship with those we are privileged to serve. Practical tasks are good, but we are called to lift up others by ensuring they know they are loved and cared for as human beings. Pick up the thread of humanity and infuse it into all the ways you serve others.
Sharing the good news by walking alongside those who are seeking God. You don’t need a seminary degree to say, “do you know that God loves you?” Then wait and listen to their story. Pick up the thread of the good news and let God bring hope to someone in despair.
Opening our hearts to stories of oppression and injustice that others have or are experiencing, even if it seems so foreign to our own lives. This may be the most difficult thread for us because it means grappling with the question, “what is justice?” Gently add this thread to your spiritual life. Remember that Jesus understood injustice, from gender, political, economic, and the systemic, and worked tirelessly to break those chains.
But we also have threads we need to let go of: Anger, Hate, Self-pity, Judgment, Impatience, Neglect, Indifference, Arrogance, To possess things, people, ideologies. We all have a few of our own to add, as well! These threads only tangle up our lives and invade our spirit. And they make threading the needle of our spiritual lives exceedingly difficult.
And, finally, give to God what is left over. Things like work meant to glorify God that was left undone or incomplete or done half-heartedly; Relationships left to flounder, with neither attention or inattention; Mercy withheld when it could have been given freely. These are the things we cannot heal on our own, but God can if we hand them over to God so we can find a path forward. It may take years, but even these threads need tending—especially by God.
You have already said yes to Jesus, you have already said yes to following him. So don’t leave out the most important part of being a disciple—the nurturing of your spiritual life. Because that is where you will find God’s heart.