Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rich Man, Poor Man – Mark 10:17-27

Rich Man, Poor Man – Mark 10:17-27
August 29, 2010 AM
By Pastor Lee Hemen

There are a lot of folks that think God smiles on them because they are financially well off, well educated, or have good looks. Nothing could be further from the truth. Absalom, King David’s son, had all three things in abundance and yet God did not favor the man because of his arrogant pride. In fact, Absalom’s prideful hang up got him hung up! There is a Universalist tendency that is creeping into mainstream evangelical circles that gives folks a false faith. In our day, people are being led to believe that if they live right and have spiritual feelings about Jesus, then they will be okay with God. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. We would do well to find the answer to age old question, “What makes a person truly rich?” The converse would be to find out “What makes a person truly poor?”

The book by Irwin Shaw, Rich Man, Poor Man, is about a lower middleclass family and its three siblings who are impacted by the influence of a hedonistic rich man named Teddy Boylan. One sees money and education as his answer to life, another, his prowess at fighting, and the last her dependence upon needing someone else in her life. None wanted to be like their embittered, brutal and miserly father. But does education, looks, or wealth have the answer for success in life? Jesus, in Mark’s gospel, teaches us that none of these things does. We discover the truth, as we look at Rich Man, Poor Man in Mark’s gospel.

READ: Mark 10:17-27

Are you rich or are you poor? Depending on how you look at life and what these things mean to you personally, your answer could say a lot about what you believe. Especially concerning your faith in Jesus Christ. Right after Jesus shows his disciples that, “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it,” we see a rich young man running to discover the answer for himself. He discovers that…

I. God does not measure by one’s perceived “goodness!” (Vv. 17-22)

1. Have you tried being “good enough” for God? If you have, aren’t you tired by trying so hard? The fact is, you cannot be “good enough” for God. As Jesus is getting ready to leave the area of Perea, a young man “ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.” Before Jesus can say anything, the man asks, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Matthew relates that the man asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” What “good thing” and “what must I do,” wow what a misguided perception of Jesus, yet one that is common even today. Far too many folks falsely think, “If I am good enough, God’s gotta love me!” Jesus put the brakes on such a belief. He bluntly asks the man, “Why do you call me good?” Apparently, the man thought Jesus had gained a measure of reputation with God by His good works. Jesus’ answer shows that if He were truly good, then it would be because He is God: “No one is good—except God alone.” Jesus’ answer is another of his claims of deity, of being God in human flesh. However, Jesus makes the truth of the man’s situation hit home. He bluntly reminds him, “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” Jesus is pointing the man to his own misconceived system of self-merit. The man immediately proclaims, “All these I have kept since I was a boy!” Tah-dah, I am such a good person!” Oh really? Jesus looks at him and, only in the personal penetrating way he could, remarks, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Here is where faith comes in and merit flies out the window! When you try to be good enough, you will always lack one thing more. When you have faith in Christ, you will lack nothing. Jesus knows the truth of this good rich man’s situation. He wasn’t really “good enough.” God does not measure by one’s perceived “goodness!”

EXAMPLE: Everyone thinks of himself or herself as a good person. I will never forget an interview conducted with Charles Manson when the reporter asked, “Charlie, do you think you are a good person?” You could tell the reporter was visibly shaken when Manson confidently replied, “Yes, I see myself as a good person.” This is why the sinful world has a problem with Paul when he reiterated the truth that, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” (Romans 3:10-11) In fact, Paul goes on to expose the age-old spiritual blindness of folks and tells his audience what the reason is, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:18) And that is the truth of today’s generation as well! We have come to a false corrupted concept that God loves us no matter what we do, that he accepts us no matter how we live, and all we have to do is be “good enough” in our own eyes for God to love us! The rich young man learned God does not measure by one’s perceived “goodness!

Some would incorrectly conclude that, “If being ‘good enough’ is not good enough for God, perhaps then being well off enough is rich enough for God!” If you are in this category, you have just made a fatal theological and spiritual error. The rich young ruler and Jesus’ own disciples are completely shaken by Jesus’ answer when they discover that…

II. God does not measure by one’s perceived “wealth!” (Vv. 23-26)

1. After all, aren’t rich people blessed by God? When Jesus told the disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” they were amazed (surprised) because in Judaism a person’s wealth was a mark of God’s favor and thereby it was seen as a blessing, not a barrier, in relation to God’s kingdom. Everyone thought so, but everyone was wrong. Interestingly, after rebuking the disciples about their indignation concerning the children crawling all over him, he addresses them as “children” thereby revealing their true spiritual immaturity. The disciples amazed at Jesus’ words, he tells them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!” He goes on to say, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Wow! There are those who nowadays think that having more acquired things equates into how successful you are. We find this ungodly infection within the rank and file of today’s churches. This heresy states, the more people through the doors of your edifice means the more successful God views your ministry. A larger church means bigger blessings from God. However, if one were to break down the numbers of those who actually tithe, serve, go on missions or do ministry as compared to the numb numbers through the swinging gates, we would find a completely different answer as this recession has shown. In fact, it would be easier for a camel smoker to get lost in the crowd at a mega church than for a rich man to enter unknown through the door of a smaller one! Remember, Jesus had told them before, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36) Yet, the disciple’s response is not too different from many of us today: “The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, ‘Who then can be saved?’” What they were missing is what many miss, that God does not measure by one’s perceived wealth!

EXAMPLE: In the play Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye is an impoverished Russian Jewish milkman whose five daughters all bring him joy and grief. He sings a song where he prognosticates about being a “rich man.” His daydreaming hits a chord with many of us because we have all at one time or another dreamed of being a “rich man.” He even beseeches God during the course of the play to see things his way, but of course God does not and the world around him evolves from one incident to the next whether he likes it or not. He later learns that the riches he seeks is found in his village, his family, and his faith. Our view of wealth may be just as skewed as Tevye’s is. A person’s spiritual condition cannot be measured by the things he owns or the money he has. Look at the lives of Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton. God does not measure by one’s perceived wealth!

If wealth and goodness are not what God measure us by in life, then by what does God measure us? This is an age-old question that even the prophet Job asked. His conclusion was that his redeemer God stood no matter what. Jesus is that redeemer. He answered this question fully. In fact, we find…

III. God measures a person by his standard! (v. 27)

1. We kick the tires and look at the body, God checks the engine! Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Job, who faced extreme trials, would finally declare to God, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely, I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42:2-3) Job came to realize that what people cannot effect -- God can indeed affect. God does so by his grace. When the disciples incredulously asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus responds by telling them, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” With man, it is hard to understand that God doesn’t look at wealth, being good, or our station in life. For man it is hard to realize that God looks at something quite differently than we do. It should be no surprise to us because he told the prophet Samuel when he was supposed to look for a king to rule Israel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) God looked at Adam and Eve’s heart and saw deception; he looked at the hearts of the rebellious Jews, who made golden calves to worship, and found them idolatrous; God looks “to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God” and he finds “everyone has turned away.” (Psalm 53:2-3) But what is impossible for mankind, is very possible with God! Paul would say, “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:27-28) Jesus offset their concern by declaring that salvation is impossible with men — beyond their human effort — but not with God. It is not beyond His power to bring about because all things necessary for people’s salvation — rich and poor alike — are possible with God through Jesus! And this is why God measures a person by his standard!

EXAMPLE: I find it interesting that Jesus had just gotten through telling his disciples that the kingdom of God belongs to those who come to him like little children, and here a wealthy young adult comes running up wanting to know what he “must do to inherit eternal life?” The disciples immediately thought what the world always does, “Here is a guy that is on the ball who has everything surely God has blessed him!” But isn’t it interesting that the guy who had everything needs something from Jesus? I am reminded of the story of a family where the father always sat in his easy chair and watched as his wife and children got ready for church and went off to Sunday School and Worship. He never discouraged them, but he never went. He did not think he needed to go. He had everything. One day, his little preschool daughter was singing a song she learned in her Sunday School Class: “Jesus, Jesus, I love Jesus. Jesus, Jesus he loves me! Jesus, Jesus, I love Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, he loves mommy!” Then she sang, “Jesus, Jesus, I love Jesus! Jesus, Jesus, he loves Daddy!” And she ran to her father, climbed into his lap and asked in her childish innocence, “Daddy why don’t you come to church with us? I love our church! Would you come with us today?” He was dumbfounded. He got up, got ready, and went with them. That day, he learned Jesus did indeed love him and he accepted Christ. He is now a leader in his church, all because of childlike faith. He learned that God measures a person by his standard!

Conclusion:

God does not measure by one’s perceived “goodness!” God does not measure by one’s perceived “wealth!” However, God measures a person by his standard!

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Believers Are Childish - Mark 10:13-16

Believers Are Childish - Mark 10:13-16
By Pastor Lee Hemen
August 22, 2010 AM

Have you ever dealt with someone who refuses to forgive another because of a perceived slight? Believers can become bitter because they find it hard to forgive and then use the excuse that they are honoring God. This is spiritually childish. Perhaps you have witnessed an adult who has an emotional fit like a two-year-old who demands that the world revolve around them. I have. That is what a believer is doing when they do not forgive. I have often said that, “It isn’t a person’s age that makes them an adult, but how they act in life.” One thing that personally drives me crazy is when adults act like children. Whether it is adults dressing like teenagers or an adult’s childish emotional behavior, it is disconcerting to see adults acting like children. However, there is a time when adults truly need to be childish. When should an adult have a childish moment?

Here in Mark’s gospel we find Jesus again using children as an example for his adult companions to exemplify. Why would Jesus use children so often? I believe it is because children were not only often seen as inconsequential in his society, but they also reflected a simple kind of trusting dependence. Children willingly trust and are straightforward about what they think or believe. Sadly, too many adults, while becoming “adult-like,” have forgotten the positive aspects of being childlike with their faith. Jesus reminds us of why believers are childish.

READ: Mark 10:13-16

Teaching children to trust you can be difficult; however, it does not stop when they are preschoolers. Trust is built upon a daily basis as you live your life out in front of your child. Adults can throw up roadblocks in the life of a child as they do not carry out promises, promise unrealistic things, or have unrealistic expectations. In fact, adults can be the greatest hindrance to a child giving their lives to the Lord. We find here that Jesus’ disciples became obstructions to little children who wanted to come to Christ. Mark shows us that…

I. Being childish means no hindrances concerning your faith! (Vv. 13-14)

1. The blessings of God are found by those who earnestly seek him! When the disciples took it upon themselves to stop the people by rebuking them, Jesus became “indignant.” He was annoyed and for good reason. Simple unhindered faith is never ignored by the Lord. Adults are the ones that complicate it. We want to make rules or guidelines to follow. True faith is found when we abandon ourselves to the Lord. When we are willing to crawl all over Jesus and have him touch our lives with no rules, no excuses, and no guidelines. Perhaps the disciples saw the people as misusing Jesus’ time, or they felt that the children were of no consequence. Whatever the reason, they were perturbed by folks bothering Jesus with their kids. Their attitude was misguided. They took offense for something that should not have concerned them. Jesus did not mind. I believe Jesus saw the real reason the people wanted him to touch their children. They desired the Lord’s blessing in their children’s lives! How wonderful is that? Shouldn’t all loving parents want that for their children and future generations? Yet far too many adults keep their children from knowing Jesus. I have never seen a child that has a problem with Jesus, only the parents. Children instinctively love Jesus because they know he loves them. Jesus did not mind that the crowds wanted him to bless their kids. This is why he responds by telling them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Kids love Christ. Adults would do well to not hinder them from doing so. However, a deeper truth here is for adults to also stop making barriers in their lives in coming to know the Lord. He desires that we crawl up in his lap. Being childish means no hindrances or personal barriers concerning your faith!

EXAMPLE: Do you know the best way to frustrate a child? Change the rules in the middle of a game. During Youth Week, we often play a game called Aggie Kickball. It is sort of like regular kickball, except the boys have to run backwards, kick with their opposite foot, a home run is an automatic out, and the rules can change at any time. For those who want defined rules or guidelines in a game, it can be frustrating to play, but that is what makes the game a challenge. It is designed not to necessarily have a winner or loser, but to have fun. Yet in all the years, I have seen it played, the players always end up taking it more seriously than it is meant to be. The reason is obvious, even youth want to know how to play the game so they can easily win. Can you imagine how frustrating it was for the parents who wanted Jesus to bless them but the disciples were playing misguided defense? Throwing up roadblocks and making sure Jesus wasn’t bothered? How sad is it when adults do throw up barriers, not only in the life of a child who desire to come to Christ, but in their own lives as well? Coming to Jesus should be simple with no roadblocks or encumbrance. Being childish means no hindrances concerning your faith!

You can usually tell when a child has an ulterior motive. One little girl used to get all cuddly and sweet, full of hugs and kisses, when she wanted something out of her parents, and no it wasn’t my daughter Katie. Katie used to ask for a drink of water and when you got up to get it for her, she would run over and take the place where you were sitting. She was all dehydrated and thirsty beforehand, but full of energy and laughing like crazy as she beat a mad dash to your chair. It is sad when adults have hidden agendas in life. The workplace, marriages, and relationships will suffer when you do. When it concerns your faith, it can be disastrous. We find here in Mark’s gospel that…

II. Being childish means no hidden agendas concerning your faith! (Vv. 15-16)

1. We come to Jesus in simple childlike trust! The kingdom of God belongs to those who are willing to lose their distrust of things they cannot see and completely trust “in things hoped for!” You cannot be “good enough” for God, he is has already provided a means for you to be holy. You cannot follow enough rules or regulations; God has completed all the tasks required. The game plan was made before the creation of the world and God has already finished it. Jesus, when he rebuked his disciples concerning their unfounded indignation at the children crawling all over him, tells them the key: “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” What, was Jesus kidding? The kingdom of God belongs to a bunch of ragtag messy scruffy ruffians that crawl all over you! What in the world, did he mean by this cryptic statement? God desires that the person look at his own heart, at who they truly are, without any hidden schemes before making the decision to follow him or not. Children easily do that because all they see is Jesus. “Adults” begin to focus on themselves and ask self-centered childish questions: “What’s in it for me?” “What will I have to give up?” “What will this require of me?” Children simply and openly say, “Okay!” God’s kingdom is not entered by second guessing God. It is not obtained by phony spirituality, personal merit, achievement, good looks, or physical capabilities. God looks at the human heart. Notice that Jesus then “took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” It is as simple as that. Coming to Jesus and allowing him to take you in his arms without any hidden agendas. Being childish means no hidden agendas concerning your faith!

EXAMPLE: The old idiom goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” This means that you should learn from your mistakes and not allow people to take advantage of you repeatedly. However, we can never ever fool God even though folks often try. It is both sad and sacrilegious that people think they can fool God by tricking him or by saying one thing but doing another. It is kind of childish and spiritually immature. PT Barnum said, “There’s a fool born every minute.” He deliberately fooled people in order to have a successful circus or sideshow. There are magicians who make a living at sleight of hand. Adults who think they can trick God with a verbal sleight of hand while saying one thing and doing another is just like trying to be a spiritual PT Barnum with God. God can see through your trickery and hypocrisy. My dad would say, “Actions speak louder than words.” The children that came to Jesus came with no hidden agenda or sleight of hand. They were readily welcomed into the kingdom of God. Coming to Jesus means not having any ulterior motives. Being childish means no hidden agendas concerning your faith!

Conclusion:
Being childish means no hindrances concerning your faith and being childish means no hidden agendas concerning your faith!

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Permanence of Marriage - Mark 10:1-12

The Permanence of Marriage - Mark 10:1-12
By Pastor Lee Hemen
August 1, 2010 AM

There is nothing permanent in life and folks would do well to remember this plain and simple truth. However there are relationships that are to last. Our relationship with Jesus lasts forever and our marriage relationship is one that is to last a lifetime. For many years when people claimed that the divorce rate in Christian circles was just the same as the world, it was accepted as a hard but true fact. But if we dig deeper into the facts, we find something quite different. For instance, when you take into consideration couples that were married and mentored within strong theologically conservative churches, the number of divorces compared to the world, drops dramatically. Folks who came to Christ after their marriage have a greater opportunity of developing a strong lifetime marital relationship. Counselors have found that if the husband leads in the relationship and determines that the couple’s marriage is to be founded on Christ, the marriage has a very strong chance of success.

Why then, do we hear so many negative things about marriage? We have all experienced someone we know getting a divorce. It is a sad but unacceptable fact of life today. We have to revive the spiritual truth of how God views marriage before we decide to make our commitment to one another as husband and wife. Some incorrectly think that if they live together first, this will solve the problem. In fact, it makes a marriage worse. Marriage isn’t the problem; the problem is that we do not teach God’s view of marriage. Self-centered humans think that marriage is all about them. It is not. Jesus, here in Mark’s gospel, teaches us about the permanence of marriage. Let’s see what he has to say…

READ: Mark 10:1-12

We find here in Mark’s gospel that marriage is to be permanent because…

I. Marriage is God’s gift to mankind! (Vv. 1-9)

1. Marriage is the reflection of God’s love and grace! We find Jesus is in Judea headed across the Jordan River. Crowds form and Pharisees show up. These deceitful men test Jesus by asking him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” They are not looking for the truth, but want a self-incriminating answer. All Pharisees agreed that the law permitted divorce, but they disagreed on the grounds for divorce. Some allowed divorce only if a wife were guilty of immorality; while others allowed a husband to divorce his wife for almost any reason. How does Jesus respond? He tells them, “It was because YOUR hearts were hard that Moses wrote YOU this law.” Wow! You have to understand what Jesus is saying. Marriage was the reflection of God's grace extended toward sinful man. Everything God had created was “good,” but after making Adam, he realized “It is not good for the man to be alone.” And God determined to “make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18) After making all kinds of animals for Adam to name and become acquainted with we quickly learn, “But for Adam no suitable helper was found.” (Genesis 2:20) He needed something far more special than an antelope or zebra. “So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:21-22) The woman became for Adam “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” and in this, we discover just how much God loved his ultimate creation. God realized man’s loneliness and emptiness and specially created from him and for him a helpmate. A wonderful expression of God’s grace and love. This is why homosexuality is such an abomination to God. It perverts his love and grace. Also, this is why God hates divorce. God made the imperfect law, a certificate of divorce, for imperfect mankind. Jesus tells them, “at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female” but “because YOUR hearts were hard that Moses wrote YOU this law!” Just as God took Eve from Adam’s flesh, marriage makes a man and wife “one flesh” again sexually, emotionally, and spiritually. Jesus concludes by telling them, “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Marriage is God’s gift to mankind!

EXAMPLE: Do you realize that when a father gives his daughter to be married, it represents the giving of his greatest treasure. It represents God giving us Jesus and the redeemed thereby becoming his bride. Believers, as the Church, are called the “bride of Christ.” Marriage should never be seen as a means to reconcile two households, to gain prominence in a community, nor as a means of escape. When couples live together outside of the bonds of marriage, they think they have circumnavigated the ills of divorce or the shackles of responsibility. Nothing could be further from the truth. We find that those who live together first and then get married are more than likely to divorce within the first three years. Why? When living together there is no commitment, nothing holding an individual to the other person. Marriage is a giving, a contractual agreement, just as faith in Christ is. It is two parties coming together under the grace of God and pledging themselves to one another for life – but more importantly to one another and to the Lord. Marriage is always a three-way contract between one man, one woman, and the Lord. Marriage is God’s gift to mankind!

We also discover in Jesus’ words here in Mark, that marriage is to be permanent because…

II. Our humanity is so imperfect! (Vv. 10-12)

1. Marriage is the next best thing to heaven on earth! While there is no “perfect” marriage, I honestly believe that when done right, this statement is perfectly true. When they were alone, the disciples evidently had a hard time with what Jesus said concerning divorce. They “asked Jesus about this.” His answer is interesting because he immediately goes to the heart of their true inquiry. They were wondering about when was it then okay to divorce one’s wife! Jesus puts a screeching halt to the disciple’s speculation by stating, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.” However, he does not stop there, he continues by saying, “And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” Why would he be so quick and so strict in his response? Jesus understood that people are sinful in nature. God gave Moses a means for divorce neither to excuse it nor to give it as an option, but because he knew, the Israelites were sinful! Again, marriage is not just about us. God views it as a sacred contract. Paul helps us understand this when he writes, after telling husbands to “love your wives” and “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord,” by saying, “This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32) God views marriage as sacred as he does the body of Christ, his church! Wow! We discover that the marriage relation represents the union between God and his people. God told Isaiah, “For your Maker is your husband-- the LORD Almighty is his name-- the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.” (Isaiah 54:5) and, we find in Revelation 19:7-8 that the Church is seen as Jesus’ “bride” and that a beautiful “wedding” occurs when Christians are finally joined in union with him by faith! Paul fully understood this and wrote the Corinthian Church, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” (2 Corinthians 11:2) Marriage is to be a lifelong commitment that God has given us while we are here on earth. Jesus would teach, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matthew 22:30) He is not saying our marriages now will be null and void in heaven, what Jesus is saying is that there will be no need for people to marry in heaven. Our marriages now will become a beautiful new relationship in heaven and those who have not married will find a more complete relationship there. Heaven is not the extension of the pleasures we find here on earth, but marriage is sacred relationship established by God because our humanity is so imperfect!

EXAMPLE: Marriage is such a sacred thing that when we do anything to disrupt it, it is seen as an abomination to the Lord. It is more than a fifty-fifty split of household items. It often requires placing oneself last. It is more than compromise; it is loving one another above and beyond your personal needs. Selfishness in marriage never works. Instead, we are to seek ways to complement one another and encourage each other in marriage. When God looked down at Adam, he realized that he was incomplete by himself. He needed someone more than himself, creatures, or even a relationship with God alone. Now isn’t that interesting. God knew it was not good for man to be alone, even though he was never actually “alone” without God. Yet, the Lord understood that humans are so imperfect when left to themselves. Humans need companionship that is physical, emotional, and reachable. I guess that’s why I like the old Gershwin tune, Somebody to Watch Over Me. It goes something like this, “There's a somebody I’m longing to see, I hope that she turns out to be someone who will watch over me. I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood I know I could always be good, with someone who will watch over me.” Perhaps that’s why God gave us marriage; he knew our humanity is so imperfect.

Conclusion:

Today we learned two beautiful truths concerning marriage from Jesus’ teaching in Mark’s gospel: 1) Marriage is permanent because marriage is God’s gift to mankind, and 2) marriage is permanent because God knew our humanity is so imperfect!

Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission. You now have my permission…