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     The young man in this scripture passage was so attached to his wealth that he was unwilling to give it up to follow Jesus and inherit eternal life.  Jesus surprised his followers by saying that those who are rich find it hard to enter the kingdom of God.  Even those who had been with Jesus for some time had difficulty understanding that those with great wealth may be lacking, as they seem to have it all.  The kingdom of God, however, cannot be bought.

     What does this mean today?  Great wealth, like the young man had in the scripture, may be easy to see, but other things, like time and comfort, that may not be as obvious, can still be barriers to commitment.  Are we treating others with love and compassion as God does with us?  Does status interfere with service?  Asking the question, “What must I do?” helped me to reflect on my day to day choices.  What obstacles may be keeping me from following Jesus?  It could be spending too much time or focus on work, instead of spending time with family.  Sitting in a room with friends and looking at my phone instead of having meaningful, face-to-face conversations.  Staying home to watch a movie on the television instead of participating in a service project.

     Jesus talks about the first being last and the last first.  Maybe it’s because those without are not burdened by being attached to status and/or things.  Maybe it allows them to freely follow and serve, putting nothing before God.  Each day, each moment provides us with another opportunity to surrender and serve.  What must you do?
           (Joy Takatsuka,; Maui Congregation)