This blog post originally was published on July 26, 2016.
I’m afraid the Rich Young Ruler had a mother.
You know the story. (Or if you don’t, read it in Matthew 19, Mark 10, or Luke 18.) A man comes to Jesus with a question about how to follow. And Jesus tells Him that following will cost everything, all that he has earned and amassed in his short but successful life.
And you know what the man does.
He goes home.
Because following was too hard. Jesus was asking too much.
So I’m terrified that he had a mother. And I’m terrified that he went home to her, and I’m terrified that she hugged him and that she said what I’m terrified I might say.
“It’s okay, son.”
“You’ve worked so hard for your success.”
“I’m so proud of you for keeping your priorities straight.”
“Jesus wouldn’t really ask you to give up on your dreams.”
“You have a family legacy to live up to."
“Just keep working hard and shooting for the stars.”
She would have had wonderful intentions. All the mom blogs and parenting books would have agreed with her. A mother’s job, after all, is to encourage her children to be the best, to push them to win, to position them for greatness.
It’s terrifying, people.
Oh, Jesus, please don’t let me be that kind of mother. Help me to raise my kids upside-down.
In a world that encourages my children to find success in the best schools and the best jobs and the next possible promotion, let me be praying every day that their biggest accomplishment would be growing God’s Kingdom by telling His News to the world.
In a world that says getting and earning and owning are the goal, let me model what it looks like to have a loose grip on my possessions, ready to give and go at Jesus’ word.
In a world that applauds selfish pursuits, let me be the kind of mom who says, “Jesus is better.”
Jesus, help me to live upside-down so they will too.