You Are Not Deficient!


In her final years my mom watched a lot of game shows on TV. One of her favorites was “the millionaire” as she called it. You know the one first hosted by Regis Philbin and later by Meredith Viera. My mom liked to see if she could answer the questions. (She often could because she was smart, though she didn’t really believe that about herself.) She hated when Regis or Meredith would interview the person sitting in the chair, asking inane questions. This would cause her to yell at the TV, “Quit stalling, Meredith (as if they were best of friends). No one cares about that. Just play the game!” I confess that this habit annoyed the crap out of me. Game shows don’t have that effect on me; the news on the other hand or even…

THE BIBLE. Did I say I yell at the Bible? Come on, even knowing the stories, don’t you want to say, “Oh, Peter, don’t say that!” “Jephthah, why would you sacrifice your only child?” “Sarah, you just laughed at the promises of God. STOP!”

The other day I was reading the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 at Panera and I actually found myself talking out loud to the poor guy. “Dude, you are asking the wrong questions!” Standing face to face with Jesus he asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Could he be any more clueless and could the whole scene be any more ironic?

Ah, but then comes the moment where my own story intersects with the text and I begin to have a really visceral reaction as if talking to the guy between mouthfuls of scone isn’t weird enough. (The Bible does that to me a lot!) Fortunately, I was now in the car pondering what I had read. His next question is “What do I still lack?” My eyes fill with tears as I realize in one way or another I have been asking that question most of my life and trying to fill up my lack with righteous living, or service, or food, or…(fill in the blank).

So first I am in the car crying and then I start to chuckle because I know that Jesus’ answer to me is not the same as to that rich young man. Jesus' answer to me comes in two vastly different ways. First, I hear the voice of my counselor, a godly young woman who during session 2 told me, “You really think there is something deficient about you. If you could just fix whatever is wrong with you then everything would be good. That is BS! You are not deficient.” And in the next second, I hear a choir arrangement of Psalm 23 singing “I nothing lack if I am His and He is mine forever!”

And there is the sweetness of the gospel: I am His and He is mine. I don’t have to do anything to inherit eternal life. Indeed, Colossians 1 reminds us that Jesus has “qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.” Why then do I insist on disqualifying myself all the time?

You are qualified!

You lack nothing!

(But if Jesus tells you to sell all that you have and give to the poor my address is…)


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