Matthew 19:21 – Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (NIV)
Our society is obsessed with trying to be perfect. People look for the perfect career, the perfect partner, and the perfect house. We struggle, strive, and get stressed out trying to reach that perfection. We purchase the latest gadgets to keep ahead of everyone else. We buy designer clothing and decadent cars to enhance our esteem. We look for new ways to look great, keep fit, and stay young. We get obsessed with trendy diets, the newest supplements, and the hottest exercise machines. As the Hindus say, we Westerners get so swamped in a frenzy of activity and greed that we have never have time to enjoy the here and now. In our effort to out-live and out-pace the rest of humanity, we end up "out-there" in a wacky, weary world of our own making.
Take me, for instance. Last summer, I went fishing for the first time in ages. At the supermarket, I bought some shiny new lures, the latest models of artificial minnows, and some really cool-looking floats. I was decked out with my Argyle and Sutherlander's green T-shirt, a pair of khaki shorts, and a trendy straw hat. I looked good and was all set to take the fishing world by storm. I caught several fish, so I not only looked the part, but I was also impressing some bystanders with my catching ability.
And then it happened, the moment that burst my perfection balloon. A group of models came to the lakeside to shoot some pictures in the twilight. They were posing and pouting on the grass beside me, as their photographers clicked away. Then one of the photographers shouted, "What a great backdrop. I love the sunlight on the water, the trees, and landscape. And that old man fishing behind you just makes the picture perfect!"
It's pride that makes us think we are perfect. When Jesus talked to the rich young man, He tried to get him to let go of his desire to be perfect. Christ asked him to do the very thing that he couldn't. He couldn't let go of his money, his esteem, or his pride. But instead of saying to Jesus, "I can't do this, Lord. Help me," he just slunk away to nurse his wounded pride.
None of us is totally perfect and none of us is completely good. That's why we need a perfect Saviour; that's why we need a godly Redeemer. Only Christ's perfection and true goodness can restore us to God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive our foolish pride and help us to stop trying to be perfect. Keep us from becoming obsessed with selfish desires, and the wanting of the latest things. Enable and empower us to become more aware of what You desire of each day in our lives. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.