Jesus met a rich young man who asked him, “What must I do to be saved?” Jesus answered that question with a question, “What are the greatest commandments?” and went on to say, “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and mother, and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said in response, “All these I have kept since my youth.” “Then there is one thing you lack,” Jesus said, “Go and sell your possessions and give them to the poor.” The young man walked away sad because he had many possessions and was not willing to give them up. Jesus said to his disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. We in our world are very attached to our possessions. We become so attached that they become our gods. Think of all of our possessions—our houses, our clothes, our cars, our furniture, our dinnerware, glasses and silverware, our phones and other electronic devices—consider whether or not we can live without them. Some things we could give up easily and others we would have a hard time giving up. Why? Because they define who we are in this world. They bring us comfort and confidence in ourselves. But why is clinging to our possessions not something we should be doing? It is because those things are not who we are and those things will all pass away. What we need to cling to instead is our Savior, Jesus, because Jesus will be with us forever. He will last long past our every possession. He will define who we are beyond what we are on earth—we are children of God, saints in heaven, brothers and sisters in Christ. We don’t hang our heads in sorrow but go forth with joy with our head held high.
When I lead Bible class in my church, there are times when the only answer I have to a difficult question someone has is: “We will have to ask Jesus that one when he returns in glory.”
We as humans are an inquisitive bunch. We want to know and understand everything right away. But there are simply some things that we will never know this side of heaven.
What we need to remember is not so much what we do not know, but what we do know:
• We are children of God.
• Christ will appear to take us home to heaven.
• We are dearly loved by our Savior.
• We are forgiven and saved from all our sins through the suffering and death of Christ.
In the end, no questions about what we don’t know really matter, because what we do know is all that matters.
Moralistic therapeutic deism (or MTD for short) may not be a familiar term to most of us, but according to the 2005 book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers by Christian Smith and Melinda Lindquist Dento, it is what defines the practices of most Christian young people in the United States today.
Moralistic: The belief that a central part of religious life is being a good and moral person.
Therapeutic: The belief that religion helps us to feel good about ourselves.
Deism: The belief that God exists, created the world and defines our general moral order, but is no longer personally involved in one’s affairs.