Living the Gospel – October 21, 2018

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When Moses came down from the mountain, he brought new laws for the Israelites that were life-changing for them. Perhaps most important, these laws were radically different. The Ten Commandments, unlike all previous codes, didn’t deal with politics or how to serve the ruling authority. Instead, they explained with how to honor God, and how to behave with each other. Perhaps there are lessons there for all of us today.

Over time, the Israelites forgot the intent of the Ten Commandments and became more materialistic – more practical, according to their worldly standards. It is much the same in our world today. Our society is ignoring the importance of caring about one another; we encourage our children to “watch out for number one” instead of “doing unto others….” Civility, which demands respect for others, has gone out the window. In our culture of cutting comments and cyberbullying, people easily hide behind the anonymity of Facebook and Tweets.

Like so many others I know, I spend too much time worrying about money, security, and how to get by in our modern culture. In my hectic world, watching out for my friends and neighbors is too easily pushed aside. I seek the life the secular world defines as successful. I know deep inside that achieving it won’t get me the goal I really want – a place in Heaven. So what concerns should be my priority as a Christian?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus spells it out. The way to heaven is not through the kind of success society might believe in. The way to achieve glory in eternity, the way to follow Christ, is to be found in service. That means instead of squirreling away resources for the future; I should be giving my time and money to serve others. Instead of slaving to become wealthier, more famous, more powerful than the next person, I should be concerned about helping those less fortunate. I should be sharing my talents and my energy.

The Way of Christ’s followers isn’t easy for me. But if I want to have a place in Eternity close to God, like I say I do, I have to be ready to make certain sacrifices. I need to let go of my secular values and give myself – all of me – to the service for others. I think I’m going to be doing a lot of praying to have the strength and the courage to make those choices. If I want an eternity with my Lord, I need to be sure to put Him first in my life. And that calls for serving God by serving others.

Linda Crowley