One Thing You Lack

5th August, 2009 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

Today I’m writing Chapter 26 of God’s Great Covenant:New Testament 1, and another spiritual application from America’s Got Talent struck me. (Who would have thought that this reality show would provide so many spiritual insights!)

As contestants appear before the judges, Piers Morgan is apt to say, “You have a good act, but one thing you lack to make it great is this …” He then provides a helpful suggestion to the fledgling talent act. And, when they return, if they get the opportunity, he comments on how the act listened to his comments and made adjustments that made their performance move from good to great.

In Luke 18 Jesus meets the rich young ruler. The young man comes with a sincere question, “What do I have to do to inherit eternal life?” He then proceeds to list all the good things he has done. Jesus’ response to him is this: “One thing you lack. Sell everything you have, give the money to the poor, and come and follow me.” The rich young ruler went away sadly because he had great riches and was not willing to sell it all and follow Jesus.

These two situations are similar. In both situations someone is appearing before a judge who will determine if he passes the test, and in both situations the judge points out the missing piece and gives advice on how to change.

There is a big difference though between Piers Morgan’s advice and Jesus’ admonition. Piers gives advice that is possible to accomplish, and if it’s heeded, the performer is rewarded for his diligence. Jesus, however, was speaking to the rich young ruler’s heart. It wasn’t really about selling everything he had, because if he sold everything and became a pauper, his heart could still be worshipping riches, not the riches he had, but the riches he wished he had. In his conversation with this young man, Jesus was doing two things. He wanted the man to see that goodness was not about his actions, but about loving God more than everything. It was about his heart attitude. He also wanted the young man to know that he couldn’t by himself do what was necessary to make up the deficiency.

Piers Morgan points out a lack, and the contestant can be rewarded if he works hard enough. Jesus points out a lack, and the person benefits only if he realizes he cannot fix the deficiency and must turn to Jesus to give him what he needs. What a difference!

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