“What must I do to gain life eternal?
How must I live to have this reward?
How can I then inherit, Good Teacher,
All of the blessing this world can afford?”
Jesus replied, “You know what the law says?
Put into practice those words and live.”
Came the reply, “O Teacher, I do this!
Is there no other command you can give?”
Jesus beheld the man who so questioned,
And gave him answer in holy love;
“Sell what you own and give to the poorest.
Follow me for all the joy you dream of.”
Sorrow took hold, for he had possessions
Many and great, he held as his own.
Could he then live without all his owning?
What would he be with his fortunes all gone?
What must we be to enter the kingdom?
How must we live to be in God’s reign?
What are the things that keep us in bondage,
Holding us back in frustration and pain?
Give it away, whatever constrains us;
Tear it all down and to Jesus turn.
Follow our Christ, the true wealth that matters;
Follow our Jesus for whom our hearts yearn.
TEXT: Charles Spence Freeman, October 2021, after Mark 10:17-23
MUSIC: Suggested tune GATHER US IN, Marty Haugen, 1979. Copyright 1982 GIA Publications, Inc.
A hymn after the story of Jesus’s conversation with the man who had many possessions (he’s described as neither young nor a ruler in Mark), with the question turned to us at the end. What keeps us from forsaking all and following? (In this case this is the tune that took hold quickly once the opening line was settled; since it is under copyright it is not reproduced here.)