The Rich Young Ruler, I am He

To be sure, I am not the only voice in this house.  Thank God for that!   I am well aware that a “Megan-painted-world” can get tedious and the view is subjective at best.

Hey, at least I can own it!  Self-awareness has never been my Achilles  heal. 🙂

With that said, I thought you may enjoy reading part of our story through the enlightened words of my amazing husband!

On December 18th, we attempted our first church service as a family of six.  Adrenaline revved in each of us and the emotional pendulum was in full swing.  As God would have it, our pastor delivered a sermon that cut straight to our hearts.  The words are blurry, but the images are clear.  God spoke to us that day.  Of course, the reference to the “rich young ruler” was not anywhere in the Scripture text for that day, but God brought it to our minds nevertheless.

God calls us to an upside-down world.  What we consider loss, he counts as gain.

Here is God’s message to us as told by my better half….

“The Rich Young Ruler has meant a lot to me recently.  We’ve been on a journey of adoption for about a year and a half now and we brought home our two children from Ethiopia the first week of December.  Our first four weeks were terribly rough.  As much as we studied and prayed, we were not prepared for what would unfold as we brought these two beautiful children out of Ethiopia an into our home in the US.

They experienced culture shock, they fought to resist our love, they did everything they could to keep from attaching to us.  Meanwhile, we grieved our old life, we grieved the loss of our “well-adjusted” family of four, we wept nearly every night for four weeks.  My wife and I felt like we were caught in the perfect storm and we were drowning with no hope in sight.  I’m sure our two new ones felt this way and I know our biological children felt this way as well.  It was ugly.  There was nothing fun about this.  Everyday seemed painful, every hour was a chore.

On the third Sunday we rallied to get everyone to church.  And, as I sat in church I realized suddenly everything was more real.  The prayer of thanksgiving was more real, the sermon came alive, the worship brought tears and the standard 30 seconds for the prayer of confession was way too short.

I believe I was only onto my second confession when our pastor closed us in prayer…  WAIT I thought, I’m not done.  I’m a mess, a wreck and I’ve got a lot more to confess.  Then it dawned on me, I was the RICH YOUNG RULER.  For so many years I’ve been generous as you suggest the rich young ruler was generous, I obeyed the laws, I am a good citizen, I don’t swear, I don’t cheat, I am honest and the list goes on.  But, when I invited Kelel and Senait into our home, it exposed that my heart was still quite far from the Lord.  King David was a knucklehead, but he was called a man after God’s own heart.  Living in that perfect storm, that exile if you will, revealed to me just how broken I was.  It exposed my selfishness.  It unearthed my strong desires to be comfortable and have control over everything I touch.  As I poured out my confessions to the Lord I realized I had lived the life of the Rich Young Ruler and this journey of adoption was the first step in “selling our possessions and giving to the poor…”

From that point on, the tears of grief and loss and mourning have moved to tears of joy.  Everyday has turned into joy and every hour a wonderful adventure with the Lord.  By inviting two orphans into our home, we have begun the journey of selling everything, sacrificing everything, giving it all to the Lord and allowing Him to give us treasure that only He can give.

I am the Rich Young Ruler.  I know what it means to walk away because I had great wealth.  I am also experiencing the joy of the daily invitation to sell all we have and give to the poor.  Generosity is no longer something I do, but rather, a way of life.

It is interesting, the Rich Young Ruler went away sad when he decided to keep his wealth and forego this journey with the Lord.  The Lord doesn’t call us to a life of generosity as a discipline, it isn’t an equation where we figure out what percentage we are “called” to give, this kind of thinking makes generosity a burden.  The Rich Young Ruler went away sad in part because he viewed generosity as a burden.  The Truth is, generosity is a joy, it is the place where our horizontal relationships are defined by our vertical relationship, it is where the Holy Spirit continues to sanctify our hearts and minds, it is Good News!

At the point where we realize all we have is a gift from the Lord, that we are entitled to nothing, we can sell all of our possessions and give to the poor and it is at this point in our journeys that instead of going away sad, we enter into the journey with great anticipation of the joy that will come as we walk hand in hand with our Lord, our Father, our Creator, our Savior.”

Our world has been turned upside-down and we are the better for it.  May God continue to turn us on our heads.

How is he turning yours?

Let me know what you think!

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