As a college freshman I was over confident and sure of what I knew about God. I thought I was ready to go do something great because I already had a firm grasp on Jesus. I remember sitting in youth ministry training that was being led by a good friend and mentor, Karen Reynolds, thinking why are we talking about Jesus? I already had a relationship with Jesus. I wanted to get out there and help others. I studied apologetics, knew my faith, and knew my bible. Jesus was faith 101 and I was ready for the tough stuff. I failed to see the main point at this particular point in my life. It’s all about Jesus. We never move beyond that.
I am more convinced today part of my life’s mission (and yours) is to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. I am even more convinced of the reality that I myself need Jesus. When my life is the biggest mess, it is usually because I’ve not let this reality sink deep into my heart and my every day experiences. I may struggle with belief, teachings, or theology, but usually it starts with a question of my heart. Sometimes his love is only a reality that I believe exists but not a love that I soak into my heart.
In Matthew 19, the rich young man asks Jesus, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus asks him if he has kept the commandments. He explains that he has kept all the commandments. He has done what is necessary. He wants to know, “What do I still lack?”
Jesus challenges him “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
The rich young man walks away sad. He is sad because of his many possessions, but I believe he was sad when he approached Jesus. Why must he question Jesus? He knows he is incomplete. He knows in his heart there is something he lacks. He is spent because he has given himself to following the commandments and doing what is right, but he has not allowed the mercy and grace of God to penetrate his heart. He wanted God to love him more because he did what was right.
God couldn’t love the rich young man anymore, because he loved him perfectly. Do you feel like you are lacking? I can promise you this. A new car, a new phone, or even a new relationship might brighten your day temporarily, but you will still feel lacking. Perhaps like the rich young man you have tried your best to keep every commandment. Maybe, like me in college, you felt like you knew everything and were ready to move beyond just knowing Jesus. I write this point with clarity and certainty, the one thing we are lacking is love of Jesus.
I say this not as judgement, but as an encouragement. I believe with all my heart that Jesus Christ wants you to experience and know the reality of his love in your life today. It’s a completely free gift. He can’t possibly love you more; you can, however, allow that love into your life and heart in a deeper way. His love is not lacking. In fact, his love is overflowing. When we start to wake up to this reality, we see that through all of creation he is laboring to love us.
If you feel incomplete, that’s okay. You are until you know his love and know it today. (Tweet this) You don’t simply fill up your love tank on a retreat or at Sunday Mass. Jesus invites you to remain in him and let his love remain in you.
His love is total. His grace is free. Let him love you. (Tweet This)
What has God been saying to you recently? How have you experienced his love in the recent weeks? I would love for you to share your stories below!