Our Work is Never Done

August 19, 2019

The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to 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.” 

When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Matthew 19:16-22)

Carol and I have four grown children. When the kids were younger, they each had regular chores for which they were responsible. There were also times when we were going to be hosting some sort of event in our home – a family gathering, a school function, or a party – and for those occasions, we did an extra special house and yard cleaning . That meant a “special jobs list” for each child. After all, that’s why we have children, right?

I remember one such occasion. We were in cleaning mode for a family cookout we were hosting. Young Rick, maybe 8 or 9 years old at the time, came to me with his wadded up list. He had a big smile on his face. There were big X’s next to each item and he held the wrinkled paper up to show me. He announced, “I’m all done!”

I asked him the basic Dad questions, “Did you do a good job?”

To which he responded emphatically, “Real good!”

“Is it Dad-good or Ricky-good?”

“It’s Dad-good,” he promised.

So I gave him a high five and said, “Thanks, buddy! Great job! Now go help your Mom.”

There was a look of stunned disbelief on my young son’s face. He held up the list and pointed to it, “But…the list…” And he turned and walked away sadly.

Much like the rich young man in the Gospel, who thought he had done everything he needed to do, only to discover more was being asked.

I can picture the rich young man, holding up a wadded up piece of paper with the 10 commandments written on it – big X’s next to each one. And Jesus saying, “That’s great, buddy! Thanks for not killing or stealing or coveting, but much more is expected of you.” The rich young man went away sad, because Jesus was asking him to be all in.

He is telling us that we need to be committed to all aspects of our faith. Not only in how we follow the rules of the Church, but also in how we live our daily lives in service to others: in our prayers for others, in the time we spend serving others directly, and in the resources we are able to make available to others.

Through the Gospel, He is also telling us that we need to be all in. That means not being content with doing the minimum. It means putting aside our own needs and making a commitment to the needs of others, the needs of the larger Church. It means sacrifice.

Being “all in” means taking our focus off of what we have already accomplished and being in tune with what still needs to be done — and our work is never done.

It means that after you have completed your job list, you go help your Mom.

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