I often think that if there was one thing about me my wife would change, it would have to be my total inability to be empathetic. Sure it might be nice if I consistently hung my clothes back up in the closet too… so maybe there are a few things… I digress.
I have always struggled with “feeling” the emotional pains of others. While compassionate and sympathetic, I am simply not the person that will share in the emotions of some impactful event. In fact when my wife cries, I want to “do” something. I want to cook, clean, go to the store or even … dun da daaaah… hang my clothes up. Whatever I can do to “fix it”. I imagine there are many men like me. I could even guess there are plenty of women also like me.
While there is a place for people that are “fixers”, there is a challenge in it. Our sin problem is simply something that we cannot “fix”. While it has been remedied, we were not the answer!
There are 3 different gospel accounts of young man that was trying to “fix” his eternity. He is referred to as the “rich young ruler”. In Mark’s account in chapter10:17-27 we see Jesus interact with this man. The man runs up to Jesus, kneels before Him and says “Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” At first glance, it seems like a harmless question, however when you examine this man’s heart as Jesus did and even his words, you see a “fixer”. He first comes to Jesus and proclaims him a “Good Teacher”; not Savior, not Lord… but Teacher. Next he says “what must I DO to INHERIT eternal life”. As most of us know, an inheritance is not earned. It is given from the wealth and work of the father/mother/grandparents etc.,
Jesus gave him 3 statements. The first statement, he confronts him calling him “Good Teacher”. He brings to his attention that no one is good except God. The second, Jesus gives him the “do’s” of perfection which are the commandments. Then, after the young man claims keeping these, Jesus says to him in love “One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”. The ruler leaves saddened because he was very rich.
On the surface this can seem contrary to the gospel message because Jesus asks him to "do" something and not to repent and believe... or does He? When we really examine this, we can see deep issues that I feel many of us have not counted. Jesus did not say, “sell your possessions and you will inherit eternal life”, instead he said “sell your possessions and give and you will have TREASURE in HEAVEN”. This ruler’s treasure was of this world. He wanted to “fix” his situation with eternal life as if it was something else to collect. Jesus brought to light what his heart really desired. Remember, Jesus also has said in His sermon on the mount in Matthew 6:21: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also"
After the disciples saw this interaction, they were amazed. Jesus was showing them the difficulty it takes to unravel the heart of sinners around earthly wealth.
To me though, the most AMAZING part is what Jesus says in response to their question in verse 26… the disciples ask “Who then can be saved?” and Jesus replies “With people it is impossible, but with God; all things are possible”.
See, when we are trying to fix our eternity, we are really trying to rob God of the glorious work that was accomplished in and through Jesus. So as you go through your day/week/year/life and the urge comes to “fix” your sin, instead fall on your knees, surrender the desire to "work to get" and learn how to live in the forgiveness the cross offers to us… For us fixers, it is a harder struggle than for most but, through this our works will glorify the Lord instead of robbing Him.
Soli Deo Gloria