Pastor Jim Stultz
The Missing Piece
Occasionally, my wife and I enjoy working a puzzle. We even have turned several of them into framed pictures. It is greatly satisfying after several weeks of working on the puzzle to view the completed work and enjoy the beauty that the artist intended. However there have also been times of frustration when we discover that after our hard work, there is a piece missing.
A missing puzzle piece is not that serious in the scheme of things. But in Matthew 19 a man came to Jesus and asked what he could do to inherit eternal life. After some discussion Jesus referred him to the commandments. The man said to Jesus: “…All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" (Matt. 19:20). Jesus replied to him: “…If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matt. 19:21,22). Jesus was not saying to him or to any of us that salvation and eternal life is tied to selling everything we have and giving it to the poor. Nothing we can do can qualify us for eternal life. But Jesus saw the rich young ruler’s heart and saw that there was a missing piece. Something was keeping him from following Jesus totally. It was his great possessions that kept him from eternal life.
Many people today are just like that rich young ruler. There is a missing piece that keeps them from following Jesus and enjoying eternal life. For some it is possessions, for others it is a pet sin that they will not release. For still others doubts plague them so much that they are not able to trust Christ. I have even dealt with people whose past keeps them from believing that they can be forgiven.
Is there anything that is keeping you from following Jesus totally? A missing puzzle piece is nothing. But missing eternal life is everything.