Year B Proper 23 Mark 10 2012
What Must I DO to Receive Life?
Mark 10:17-31

I heard about an expert in diamonds who happened to be seated on an airplane beside a woman with a huge diamond on her finger. Finally, the man introduced himself and said, "I couldn't help but notice your beautiful diamond. I am an expert in precious stones. Please tell me about that stone." She replied, "That is the famous Klopman diamond, one of the largest in the world. But there is a strange curse that comes with it." Now the man was really interested. He asked, "What is the curse?" As he waited with bated breath, she replied, "It's Mr. Klopman."

Some of you may wish to re-evaluate your diamonds on that basis. But seriously the true curse of any kind of valuable possession is its capacity to steal our hearts and souls. The rich young ruler is one of those unique characters from the Bible that have come to represent greed. So unwilling was he to part with earthly wealth that he sold his soul in order to keep his money. He wanted to be saved but not at the expense of losing his possessions. The first thing that impresses me when I read this story is that the rich young ruler was so near to the Kingdom. He asked all the right questions. He understood the Law and he understood Jesus’ teaching. But in the end love of money kept him out. We see him as a moral coward.

But that conclusion is too simple...

L4G -- Live For God
Mark 10:17-31

The front of local markets have been crammed full of candy for the past two weeks. [Get someone to take pictures of your specific local markets.] Halloween "Trick or Treat" might not be until the end of this month. But candy creators want us to stock-up and stock-pile.

As a kid it was such a rush to come home after "making the rounds" of the trick-or-treat neighborhood and ceremoniously dump out all that candy crammed into our paper bag. Every piece would be inspected. Perhaps some cautious trades made with siblings. Then each of us got our own bowl to keep our "cavity central" separate from everyone else.

Halloween candy is consumed according to two very different philosophies. There are the "hogs" and there are the "hoarders."

The "hogs" dive right into the bowl, scarf down all their favorites the first night, eat until queasy, and then finish it up during lunchtime at school the next day.

The "hoarders" not only stretch out the life-span of their goodies until Thanksgiving. They also allow themselves only one or two "favorites" per day, mixing in the less desired goodies to fill out the daily ration.

There are obvious problems with both of these strategies. The "hogs" either get horrible stomach aches, or suffer an out-of-control sugar rush that leads them to harass little sister, drive the dog crazy, and get grounded by a frustrated parent.

The "hoarder" lords their "I still have candy" status over others for a month. But eventually they end up with stale, rock-hard, break-your-teeth "goodies" that really are not good (although they would never admit it).

For both kids and adults it is hard to know how to deal with "wealth," with "stuff" we have that others may not... presents Leonard Sweet