Those Who Can Eat Whatever They Want
There came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. Matthew 27:57
I’ve always been a little – sometimes a lot – overweight. So, I’ve often found myself being jealous of those who can eat whatever they want and remain skinny. That’s not fair. Why do I struggle?
Unfortunately, I don’t do it with only food. When I see a friend have just one beer with dinner, I’m again jealous. I should be able to do that. When I compare myself to others, I get frustrated with my own flaws. Then, I start to rationalize a return to the behavior I know to be destructive. If he can do it, then so can I.
I found myself thinking similar thoughts in reading today’s passage. Previously in the book of Matthew, Jesus told a rich young man that he must sell all he had to become a disciple. Here though, we’re told about another rich man who followed Christ, using what he had to serve Jesus.
When I read about a wealthy man who followed God, I’m relieved. It’s not that I consider myself all that rich. I just really don’t like the idea of selling all I have and giving it away. So, when I see that a disciple of Christ was allowed to keep his money, I find comfort in that. Whew, I guess it’s OK if I do it because he did it.
We all have our own struggles though. Sometimes God asks different things of different people. What’s OK for another may not be OK for me. Finding my right and wrong based on the actions of others is like eating whatever the skinny guy eats. It may work for him, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for me. I can’t eat whatever I want, and I can’t have just one drink.
Jesus asked the first young man to sell all he had because it kept him from following Christ. He didn’t ask this of the second, because his money wasn’t his stumbling block. That is the measure of whether something in a gray area is right or wrong. Does this keep me from following Christ? Does it lead me towards self and away from God? If so, then it has to go. The Christian life is a continual process of crucifying that which would destroy us, so that we may follow God, growing into who he made us to be.