What Lack I Yet?
His suit was well worn and out of place with the crisp, sharp suits the other missionaries wore. But the boy did have one thing in common with the other elders; they had each arrived at the mission home for the first time. As the missionaries prepared to leave for their assigned areas, the mission president pulled the humble boy from South America aside and asked him where he had gotten his well worn suit. He explained that his father had taken it off after church the Sunday before he left on his mission and had placed it in his small suitcase.
Looking down, the mission president asked where the elder’s weathered and beaten shoes had come from. The missionary replied that his father had taken them off his feet when they arrived at the airport and had given them to him to put on his feet just as he was ready to leave.
The boy’s humble family had given all they had so this young man could serve the Lord.
Contrast this with the young man we read about in Mark 10.
I imagine this boy was about the same age as the missionary. As Jesus was going forth, this rich young man came to speak to Him. We read that he came running and knelt at the Savior’s feet. With seeming pure intent, he explained to the Lord that he had kept the commandments since he was a boy and now wanted to know what he needed to do additionally to inherit eternal life.
He questioned the Lord, “What lack I yet?” (Matt. 19:20)
We can assume the question was sincere, for Mark tells us, “Jesus beholding him loved him” (Mark 10:21)
The Lord then gave the boy specific counsel; but what He asked was not easy: “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor…and come, take up the cross, and follow me” (v. 21).
For the young man, the requirement was too great.
Surrendering all he had was too much to ask, and rather than committing his all to the Savior, he “went away grieved.” (v. 22)
What might it mean to give our all to the Lord?
It means more than just giving the visiting teaching message; it’s being the friend. It means adding the final touches every time we serve in our callings. It means paying just a little more in our fast offerings, knowing that our small effort will make a significant difference to someone in need. It means getting out of our comfort zone to talk to someone new at church. It means remembering the “in the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see” (Hymns, no. 220) and learning to be less critical and more understanding. Sometimes it means giving up our seat, and other times it means giving up our entire afternoon. It means I’ll be there, you can count on me, and I’m on your side. It means that we are always on the Lord’s errand. It means that we are a true follower of Christ.
Although it is hard to imagine at the time of our sacrifice, we receive, in the giving, something of far greater worth in its place.
There is a story found two chapters later in the same book of Mark that depicts this true devotion to the Lord.
Interestingly, it seems that the woman in this story, who gave everything she had to the Lord, never met the Savior during His ministry on earth.
Her reward was not immediate, but still, her devotion was sure.
I imagine Jesus sitting out of the way, watching the activity in the temple around Him. As He sat, “His gaze was riveted by a solitary figure. We can see her coming alone, as if ashamed to mingle with the crowd of rich givers…she held in her hand only the smallest of coins, but it was all her living” (AE, Vol. II, 388)
As Jesus watched, the woman threw in her two mites, giving every earthly thing she possessed to the Lord, without thought of recognition or reward, but in humble, quiet sacrifice.
With great respect, Christ spoke of her to His disciples, saying, “This poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:43-44; emphasis added.)
Of her want…
because she wanted to…
I want to be more like that.