Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost- Week of October 10, 2021
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Compassionate God, you love us so that we in turn may love other people. Open our eyes to see every person in the world around us, and open our hearts to learn from them. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is LEARN. In this passage, Jesus says that “many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Mark 10:31, NRSV) What do you think this means? What can we learn about Jesus by paying attention to other people?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Mark 10:17-31
Reflect: You have probably had a friend visit your home who wanted to play with your toys. Sometimes that can be fun, but sometimes it’s hard to share your things, especially if you have a favorite toy or stuffed animal that you don’t like anyone else to touch. Was it hard to remember to be kind? Did you ever fight with a friend because you didn’t want to share?
Why do you think Jesus asked the rich man in this story to give away all of his things? Maybe his possessions were too important to him and he cared about his things than other people.
Jesus wants us to know that following his teachings is more important than our possessions. The more we have and the more important they are to us, the harder it can be to remember to be kind to other people. Jesus wants us to focus on the most important thing: loving other people. That will make us happier than all the possessions in the world.
Respond: Go into your room and grab a few of your toys. Hold them in your hands. Now think about someone you love even more than your toys and stuffed animals. Maybe it’s a family member or a friend. Imagine giving them one of your toys. You don’t have to give anything away right now. Just think about how that would make you feel. Would you be sad? Would your friend or family member be happy to receive a gift? Think about what else you can do for your friends and family and other people in your life that will make them happy.
- Jeremiah Sierra
Adult and Elementary
Read: Mark 10:17-31
Reflect: When the rich man comes to Jesus to ask what he needs to do to inherit eternal life, I think he’s expecting a pat on the back. I think he feels pretty confident about his actions – wanting Jesus to give him an “atta boy!” This man feels like he has learned all there is to know – and he wants some credit. Instead, Jesus asks him to give up his money. The man walks away, shocked and grieving – Jesus has asked more than he expected.
Though we like to think we are different from the rich man, I think we’re pretty similar. We can get stuck thinking we already know everything, and there’s nothing left for us to learn. Jesus asks us to learn by giving – often by giving more than what we expect. It IS shocking. We can grieve the material possessions. What does Jesus ask you to give? What’s hard to give? Or easy?
But the good news is a truth the disciples know – there is
no one who has left everything who will not receive a hundredfold back, Jesus
assures them. Jesus promises that in giving, we will receive. What have you
given away that has come back? Where have you seen a hundred-fold blessing?
Respond: Pick something you can give away. Maybe give it to someone you know is in need – or maybe donate it to your local thrift store. Notice what’s hard for you to give away, or what’s easy. Think about how you might be coming closer to Jesus in the giving. What new thing do you learn about God when you give things away?
- Jazzy Bostock
Adult and Youth
Read: Mark 10:17-31
Reflect: In our reading from Mark, the rich young man can’t bring himself to trade the good life he has for the great love that Jesus offers. He wants eternal life, but he doesn’t want to give up his stuff. We sometimes look at the rich young man as an example of who not to be, but even though he refuses Jesus’s offer, Jesus looks at him and loves him.
Street chaplain Lindsey Krinks describes unhoused people giving away their last blanket or coat to others in need in her book, “Praying with Our Feet.” Jesus said it was hard for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God, and I wonder if that’s because wealth makes it hard to see how much we need each other. Every single one of us is loved and invited by Jesus to be a part of the Beloved Community. How can we let go of what we have saved for ourselves, and trust what we built together with Jesus?
Respond: There’s an old bit of wisdom that says who we turn to for advice reveals what we hope to be told. As you spend time with Scripture, who do you want to help you shape your understanding? Often we turn to powerful or successful people for guidance, but here Jesus tells us that the powerful are the people who struggle most to join the Kingdom of God. Help yourself to notice quiet service by making a list of the people around you who model generosity and simplicity. Those people are teachers of the Kingdom of God, even if they’re not leading a classroom.
- Di McCullough
Adult and Adults
Read: Mark 10:17-31
Reflect: “But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Mark 10:31, NRSV) During my time as a camp counselor, we always played trivia games to see which cabins got to go first for a meal. One week, I had a group of campers that were constantly complaining and whining. They felt like it was unfair for them to go last. I found myself often saying this Bible verse back to them. One day, my friend Nick told them that if they could go 24 hours without whining, he would let them go first for lunch the next day. He also told them that he would check with me to see if they had fulfilled their mission.
Unfortunately, they didn’t make it the 24 hours without whining. But they did much better than they had the previous days. Nick gave them a little grace and let them go first for lunch the next day. This instance is a reminder to me of what Jesus means when he says these words. Too often we think that by having the best and being first we will win. But the truth is that the last will be first!
Respond: Learn! Together, go to a local shopping mall (or look at online retail websites.) Look at the highest priced items and those items on clearance. Put an outfit together. Talk about the consequences of what it would cost if you accidentally ruined one of the high priced or clearance items. We can find the best outfits on the clearance rack. (At least I know I have.) And if something happens to that outfit, I am less worried if I had to replace it. Then spend time reflecting on what it means for the first to be last and the last to be first?