Trade-offs and Decisions

We all have hard choices to make. How do we make it?

Take a lesson from Jesus’ conversation with a rich young man.


today's gospel has an important lesson for us all to learn it is about discerning what is the most important in our life and making decisions based on what we value the most in the book essentialism by Greg McKeown he gives a powerful example of discerning what is essential his wife was pregnant and she was giving birth to their first child and he received an email while at the hospital his wife is in labor he receives an email from his boss and the email says that there is this really really you know urgent urgent customer meeting we have to go you have to be there and so Greg doesn't want to disappoint none of us want to disappoint you know especially people in authority over us so he has this dilemma his wife is giving birth to their child and at the same time there is an important meeting that he should attempt how did he make the decision his child is born and the meeting is about to happen and Greg inside of himself says you know what let me go so he misses the first few moments with his child and goes to the customer meeting and as he's at the customer meeting he's feeling terrible because of the decision he's made the customer and his boss when they realized that he left his wife who just had labor with the baby feel terrible of what kind of person is this it was potentially harmful for Greg to go to that meeting but he went because he lost sight of what was essential what was the most important thing we need to keep focused on the essentials of our lives we have to realize that that customer meeting isn't as important and that's something that Greg realized that day because that customer meeting wasn't as urgent as someone was saying and it didn't result in anything that was amazing but he missed the most important thing that was his responsibility to be that is what our gospel message also highlights to us today as a rich young man wants to inherit eternal life but when put to the test Jesus reveals that his heart is somewhere else the scriptures say in Luke's Gospel chapter 18 and when the rich young man said all these Commandments I have kept from my youth Jesus then said to him you still lack one thing sell all that you have and distribute to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven come and follow me but when the rich young man heard this he became very sorrowful because he was very rich he became very sad because he didn't want to part with his riches his heart was with what his but with his wealth his heart was focused on his riches he was presented with a trade off and this is what's gonna happen children especially for you guys to know that as you get older there will be times in your lives that as an adult you have to face a decision that requires a trade-off do you know the trade-off is a trade-off is where you have a decision that you can use something you want but in order to get that something you want you have to give up something that you have he has this decision to make he has this wealth right and he could sacrifice this earthly temporary wealth for eternal life it is decision where you can where you get to decide what is it what's the value of things and to this young man his wealth was more valuable than the greater treasure of the kingdom trade-offs are not easy to navigate especially because we as humans are notorious for being biased towards what we already have for example how many of you have a lot of clothes in your closet like just a lot right well I have been blessed and I and some are gonna be mad that I'm blessed with this I have been blessed that I can still wear my shirt from high school and my pants from high school I don't know how but it's still possible it fits but tight but it fits and so I have collected decades of clothes in my closet at my house in my closet at my parents house there are clothes more than I could ever dream of wearing and the thing is every now and then Vince accoutrement wants to do that spring cleaning or the cleaning of the house and get rid of things and she goes go into your closet and take the things that you're not wearing and then I go into the closet I look and I see and I'm Hannah I don't know what I'm gonna get rid of I see this ugly shirt that I've never worn this ugly shirt that I think like some uncle bought for me that I I don't know why I have it but it's in my closet and I have it and I I look at the shirt and I'm like I'm never gonna wear this and at the same time as I'm about to take that shirt off of the hanger and put it into the donation a puppy you shouldn't donate it because it's that ugly but I have that shirt ready and I look at it I think maybe I will need it someday maybe there will be some kind of like party where I need to wear this too or something maybe there'll be a vent and that you know what let me just keep it and so all of a sudden I keep it I find it difficult to part with it and the thing is we have trouble discerning what is really valuable if you are presented with that trade-off and something that I have to learn to do myself this trade-off decision then you have to ask yourself a question how much money or what is the value of that item if I take that ugly shirt and say let me see I see it in Macy's okay it's not gonna be in Macy's it's gonna be somewhere else but I see it somewhere in some store how much money would I give to buy that shirt and if it is not anything then something I should throw away we have to not look at what is in our hands and the value of that of that we have to look at the value of it of how much we it is truly is not just because it's ours but because of what it is the value of what it is and so when we are presented with a trade-off we have to ask ourselves how much would you give if you didn't have already have this item and then we can realize that we wouldn't buy it at all so now let's go back to the choice of the rich young man his choice was between wealth of this earth and the wealth that he had worked hard to build up to he it was the wealth that he had he had either you know paid for his family paid for he was a wealth that he a was earned in some hard and difficult way and he values the labor that went into that wealth but what if what if when Jesus was before him and he was before when he was before Jesus and the question wasn't what a giving up your wealth what if the question was here is 1.6 billion dollars from the lottery and here is eternal life here is joy peace love and the kingdom forever which one's more valuable the kingdom because it's eternal this one point six billion dollars anyone who knows who gets the lottery there the stories of those who win the lottery is not great yeah but those with temporary wealth it's easier for them to go but it's it's easier for as the scriptures say easier it's not it's as easiest for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to inherit the kingdom of heaven another young man who was rich also was faced with the same dilemma in the third century of the church in the third century of art of the third century of the church man a young man who was 18 years old his parents had died and left him with the great wealth but he came to church and in church he heard if you want to be perfect go sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven he heard Matthew chapter Matthew's Gospel chapter 19 verse 21 and when he heard this he was convicted and he said so let me set aside my money let me set aside enough money to take care of my sister and he sent that money aside and the rest of the money he gave up to the poor and he went into the desert and he lived a life of prayer and that choice he made makes him one of the great Saints of the earth of the church it makes him one of the fathers of the Christian monastic movement st. Anthony the great the one who inspired Athanasius two opposed areas the one who gained the courage for so many others to follow Christ the one who we sing praise to and we remember in the fifth over then countless generations have heard of him and we preached of him today st. Anthony the great he had a great wealth but he gave it up for something greater the wealth of the kingdom so here is what the gospel is telling us today we need to constantly check our hearts and remember what is essential for us more often than not we choose to go to the pointless customer meetings we choose to trade off against our spouse and our children we even choose our friends sometimes more than our families we choose the fleeting relationships and desires of social status than our families we might think that we are focused on the right things but that rich young man was blind and he didn't realize he was blind until he was questioned by Jesus Christ if we really want to know what to focus on and make sure that we're focusing on the right thing let Jesus be the light of your life he tells the man to release his trust of his wealth and follow him so if we follow Christ teaching and seek after him we find the meanings of discerning the way it can help us to make good decisions about our life let us pray today and every day for Christ to show us the way but we also need to make sure that we are seeking the kingdom first all glory and honor to the father to the son