I’m sure that you recognize today’s Gospel reading. It’s a story about a rich man who came up to Jesus and asked about his salvation. First of all, this is not a parable. It’s something that actually happened. It is repeated in another Gospel.  It is real. This is a very interesting story that ends in sadness. I have always wanted to change the ending, but unfortunately I can’t.

The man was rich and had many possessions. Some translations say he had much property. When he asked Jesus what he should do, Jesus named the commandments given to Moses. The man replied that he had kept them all. Then Jesus commanded him to sell all he had and give to the poor. 

Did you notice that Jesus did not start with the two most important commandments? Jesus reads hearts. If we were to take this story and bring it forward to today, what would it look like? At first glance the man appears to be a very devout believer. And I’m sure that all his friends believed that he was. 

I was raised in a home that told me if you had a lot of money you were successful. I carried that thought for many years. I decided that I would climb the ladder of success and make some good money. I was told I should be an engineer, but after my first year In college I decided that wasn’t  where I wanted to go. I changed my curriculum to secondary education. Have you ever noticed that young adults that work their tails off to make it through college end up working in an area totally different from their major and minor. I was one of those!

After 2 1/2 years of being married and in a profession that I really didn’t like. I walked into a major shock! For some reason that day after work, I came into the house through the back door. I opened the door into the kitchen and my wife was at the sink and my two little boys were near her. When I opened the door my two boys went and stood behind their mother. They didn’t know who I was! Climbing the corporate ladder, I was working a lot of hours and becoming quite successful in my job. The shock of seeing my two boys hiding from me was something I could not handle. 

I fell in love with children after my sister was born. She is 12 years younger than I am. When I turned 16 and got my own car, I took her everywhere with me. After I got married, my wife and I had a very serious discussion about how many children to have. We decided that two would be great. Then we had six more! You do the math. I can relate to the rich man regarding getting rid of possessions. I decided very quickly that I would slow down in climbing the corporate ladder and spend more time with my family. Some of my friends looked at me as being a loser. But in the end, I am the winner with my 31 grandchildren!

Serving with joy!

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