Not far


By Tom Wiles | For The Times-Post

Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions. — Mark 12:18-37

I love asking questions of people who are thriving in their area of specialty.

One friend I talked with has successfully navigated launching and building a business.

Another serves at a high rank in the military.

It’s fascinating to hear how they think, prepare for and head into the next challenge.

I recognize quickly how far my cognitive capabilities are from theirs, which makes it that much more fun to talk with them.

The man approaching Jesus in the story today was a listener and a learner.

God had given him a deep love for his word and Jesus recognized it when the man commented on what Jesus had said.

“You’re not far…”, Jesus told him.

God’s grace had brought him to the conviction that the heart was more important than the religious rituals themselves.

Now, will he recognize that standing right in front of him is the one whom he should love above all else?

I’ve often wondered how many times in my life how close I was to some type of breakthrough, but pulled up short because of frustration or fatigue, only to miss out on something awesome God had prepared.

“Not far” is wonderful, but it’s not all the way there.

What are you “not far” from in your world these days?

Perhaps you don’t even know.

Take time to listen to Jesus today and let him tell you.

Oh, and don’t miss the fact that he is still the one whom we should love above all else.

Let’s go!

But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” — Num. 13:25 – 14:12

I remember quite clearly the moment the Lord informed me that it was time for my next assignment.

The Lord said, “Let’s go!”

I said, “What? Where? Why? and Are you sure?”

All my adult life had been spent in the same place with the same responsibilities.

But now, the time had come to venture out into unchartered waters.

With sails up, off we went.

The people of Israel were in the middle of transition shock.

They were an enslaved nation for generations.

And then, Moses shows up.

Delivered by the power of a God they had seemingly forgotten, off they went.

They followed a cloud/pillar of fire.

They walked through the sea on dry land.

Water gushed out from a rock when they were thirsty.

It was a wild ride.

Now, it was time to enter into the promised land.

Two men got it. The rest forgot it.

When we walk with God, the goal of life is not to be safe, comfortable and predictable.

The goal is obedience.

We will inevitably and repeatedly be brought to places where we are in way over our heads.

The truth is all of life is more than we can handle.

Regularly, we need to be reminded of this fact.

God does not want our lives or our relationship with him to be anything less than a great adventure.

Each day we choose.

It’s either “no go” or “let’s go.”

The ball is in our court.

Tom Wiles is senior minister of Fall Creek Christian Church in Pendleton. He can be reached at 765-778-3166.