Lately as I’ve been reading Scripture, it has occurred to me more and more that while the words mean what they say and say what they mean, there is also a deeper level, if we choose to look past the obvious.
Like the Song of Solomon being about both marriage and our relationship with the Christ and the church’s relationship with Christ. Or the adulterous woman in Proverbs being about adultery but also about the way our flesh entices us into any sin of indulgence.
But the one that really struck home recently was the story of the rich young ruler. I was reading the Mark rendition (Mark 10:17-22) and it struck me that yes, the story is about clinging to riches, but it is about more than that. Consider verse 21:
Jesus looked at him and loved him. [emphasis mine] “One think 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.”
Suddenly this story is about so much more than a man who loved his riches. It’s about Jesus’s love, about the way He sees our “lack,” as He did in this young man, and how He pushes us into situations that will make up that lack. Because He loves us.
I see this exact thing being played out very clearly in my own life right now. I have “lacked” some discipline, especially as regards working. So the Lord put me in a situation where I could choose–be disciplined, work hard, make up that lack in my character or take it easy and throw away the opportunities He’s blessed me with.
These past few weeks have not been easy. I’ve been writing a book I’d already written once, then trashed. I’ve also had some freelance editing projects to get done. On top of that, I’d committed at the beginning of this year to try to stay on top of the housework better. And then there are all the other, normal errands and tasks of life. He called me to a more disciplined lifestyle, to give up something I’ve clung to and enjoyed. The only other choice was to walk away from what I felt God had called me to. But reading this account in Mark has given me new vigor. The Lord hasn’t asked this thing to torture me. He’s asked it because He loves me and He sees a place where I am lacking.
I still don’t like getting up earlier. Or less free time. Or the exhaustion that comes at the end of the day. But those are things I can endure when I know that my Jesus wants only the best for me. He wants to fill up my lack so that I can, in turn, be a more committed follower of Him. And in the end, isn’t that everything?