Good morning, Mini-Women! Can we start off today with a few reminders? I love, love (and did I mention LOVE) the way you pray for each other and try to help each other. That's what makes our community so special. So that we can keep it that way, we need to stick with certain guidelines. A quick review: only comment on the topic in red on the post. If you have another subject you want to talk about -- like the way your friends are treating you, for example -- and that's not what we're discussing in the series, just email me and I'll (1) answer with some thoughts for you and (2) put it on my list of possible future topics. You are always free to ask for prayer and of course it's great to say, "I'm praying for you, Whoever." But let's not use that as a launching pad to a whole new subject. Make sense? You haven't done anything "wrong". I'm just sort of regrouping us so we can continue our Journey to Jerusalam. Shall we?
We were in Galilee for what seems like a long time, but now that we've finally hit the road again and are crossing the region of Judea on the other side of the Jordan River, we can look back and see that we needed to stay there that long so we could focus on what Jesus was teaching us.
But it sure feels good to be walking again, doesn't it? Jesus is so fun to be with. He's so upbeat and loving and just being around him makes us be better friends to each other without even thinking about it. How cool is that?
Man, but as soon as other people hear that we're passing through their town, it's like it went viral on Twitter or something. Everywhere we go, there are all these crowds of people following Jesus. At first we're like, "Hey, this is OUR road trip!" (Would that be you?) But then we see what's happening: Jesus is healing people. Who wouldn't want to get in on that, right?
But then there are OTHER people who start hanging around Jesus and they're not there for healing. It's like they're asking all these questions to try to trap him into making a mistake. Like he WOULD. They're all talking about divorce and marriage, with all these situations that could happen, and we're all, "Give it a rest!"
Who ARE these people? we want to know. Miss Nancy explains that they're Phraisees, the leaders of the church who are threatened by how much the people love and believe in Jesus instead of following THEIR rules. It's tough to give up being in charge. That makes some of us think about how bossy we can be sometimes, maybe kind of know-it-all ...
Mostly it's easy for us to think, "I would never try to test Jesus like that." But then a guy shows up who we can kind of relate to.
This guy is young and obviously he has money, but he also seems, like, really sincere when he says to Jesus, "What good thng must I do to get eternal life?"
Hmm, we think. Good question. Yeah, we're saved so it's like we're good to go, but that doesn't mean we get to just do whatever we feel like doing. So we get closer and watch what goes down.
Jesus, in his always kind way, tells the guy, "First of all, God's the only one who's totally good so if you want to have a life with him just do what he tells you."
The guy wants specifics. We kind of do too. So Jesus says, "Follow all the commandments."
We all think about that. None of us has murdered anybody or any of that. We're pretty good to go, right? We're obedient most of the time, aren't we?
The young guy says the same thing about himself, but he also says, "So, what next?"
We lean in. The crowd gets quiet. This is going to be good. We'll find out EXACTLY what we're supposed to do.
"Well," Jesus says, "Then give it all you've got."
"Go," Jesus says, "sell your possessions and give everything to the poor. All your wealth will be in being with God. Follow me and I'll show you the way."
The entire crowd is like, "Are you serous?" The young guys goes away practically crying because he has a LOT of possessions.
And what about us?
We don't know WHAT to do with that. Are we supposed to give away all our clothes and other stuff to the poor kids, and then be left poor ourselves? Our parents are SO not gonna let us do that!
Jesus, of course, knows what we're thinking and when the crowd has left -- because watching people be healed by Jesus is cool but when he starts talking this way, they're out of there -- he sits us down in a little street cafe and he explains what that means for us:
* Give God all you've got -- your prayers, your energy, your love, your obedience.
* Follow the commandments by being loyal and generous and truthful and selflessly loving
* Give up whatever keeps you from following me (Jesus)
Ouch. That last one is the one that sounds SO hard. But Jesus says it's possible. He tells us to write in our Talking To God Journal about anything that is more important to us than a life with God, right here on earth. He gives us some questions to think about and comment on:
* Do you own anything that is so important to you, you would be mad at God if God asked you to give it away?
* Is there any activity you're involved in that is so important to you, you'd give up going to church, praying or following the commandments to keep doing it?
* Do you have any person in your life besides your parents who, if she asked you to do something for her that was against what God teaches, you'd do it so you wouldn't lose the friendship?
"Give that up," Jesus says. "Then give God all you've got." And before we can even think about saying, "It's so hard!" he says, "And don't you think I'll be here to help you?"
Oh, yeah. We do.