Running to Jesus is not always the answer.
Recently, I read about the rich young guy who did what we typically label a great thing: he ran to Jesus. In Mark 10:17, we read that he “came running up to [Jesus], knelt down, and asked, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’”
But why was he running?
Was he running because he had a ton of important stuff to do? Was he coming from some uber important business dealings, looking to get a quick Word from Jesus so he could return to real life?
Was talking with Jesus an afterthought, something he might just be able to fit into an otherwise stuffed schedule?
Why was he running?
Was he running in desperation? Had he reached the end of himself and realized his need for salvation? The text doesn’t seem to say so. Actually, the text shows us a guy who’s pretty sure he’s got it all together. He’s got money, for sure, and he’s got pride. But it’s not really the bad pride, right? It’s the kind of pride that says, “Well, actually, I’ve kept the entire law all my life.” Oh snap, that is the bad pride.
But why is he running?
It looks like a bullet point to me, an agenda item – “Ask Jesus how to be saved.” Check.
Jesus sees this guy, the man with all the right answers to the wrong questions, and feels “genuine love for him.” Even so, Jesus doesn’t throw open his arms or the gates of heaven for this man. Because this isn’t how a person is supposed to run to Jesus. He is not prepared to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
So why does he run? Well, because he is us.
We run and we run and we run, and then we see Jesus in someone, or we read a powerful book, or listen to a touching podcast, and we cry out, “I want that! I want peace and love and joy and salvation and whatever THAT is!” But we’re still running. We’re still loving our busyness or our business. Our legs have carried us to a legitimately good question, but our hearts are three miles behind.
I want to stop running.
I want to walk with Jesus, slowly learning his ways, hearing his voice.
I want to remember that Jesus doesn’t dole out life-changing maxims in 140 characters. He says “Follow me while I walk. Watch me. Be with me. And I will show you.”
It’s a slow faith, without shortcuts or belief-hacks.
May we follow Jesus like that.
And when we do run to Jesus, may it be with childlike confidence and joy. I think he likes that kind of running.
I’ve come to believe that Jesus is not a big fan of fast faith, where I try to fit my big questions into little boxes, hurriedly scarfing down truth.
I need to walk with him, slowly.