I know what it’s like to live a privileged life. Sure, I was born with certain advantages but I have also put a lot of effort into my success.
I’ve dedicated myself to working hard and living a moral life. In return, I’ve been blessed with resources and respect.
There is only one problem. All that striving and all those possessions don’t bring me joy. There is an ever-present ache inside my soul that won’t go away. Like a cancer that spreads silently underneath the surface of my skin, this gnawing pain is always with me.
In desperation, I turned to a man who seemed to have a peace that evaded me. His life was not dominated by the pursuit of wealth or status. He was clearly not anxious or driven by the opinions of people.
It took courage to ask him a question. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth but I managed to blurt out, “What do I have to do to have a life of true meaning?” Underneath the question was a longing to make the aching pain stop NOW.
His response was nonchalant. I’m used to people paying me more respect. He simply listed off commandments that I needed to follow.
Frustrated, I replied, “I’ve done all that since I was a kid!”
I think he heard the desperation in my voice. He turned and looked me directly in the eyes. It was only a few seconds but it felt like hours. An expression, I can only describe as “love” radiated from his face. Somehow I knew he truly cared for me.
Like a good doctor, he saw the disease that was destroying me. “Go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor. Then you will have the life you are seeking.”
Tears filled my eyes. He knew the one thing that was in control of my life. How could I give up the comfort and safety I had worked my whole life to attain? He could have told me to fly to the moon and it would have been easier.
I couldn’t look at his face anymore. I was seen for who I truly was. I bowed my head and walked away weeping.
My story could have stopped there…but it didn’t.
That look of compassion continued to haunt me. I secretly began to follow him. I watched as he cured the ill and cared for people that no one else thought worthy of respect. THIS was the life I desperately craved!
Just as I was about to leave my successful life behind, I was shaken again. He was sentenced to the brutal death of crucifixion. The hands that healed the sick were nailed to a piece of wood. The body that embraced outcasts was beaten so badly that you couldn’t even tell he was human.
Yet, as I stood at a distance, I saw him look at his tormentors with the same love that he showed me. He never cursed them or demanded justice. He forgave them.
He willingly gave EVERYTHING he had. In his death, he showed me how to live.
I watched in stunned silence as he gasped his last breath. Once again I wept the bitter tears of regret as I thought about “What could have been”.
Suddenly a feeling of resolve came over me. Today is the day it all changes! No more being dominated by the expectations of others or pursuit of wealth.
Even if the entire world is ashamed of him, I won’t be. I boldly went before the governor and asked for Jesus’ body so that I could bury it. Yes, associating myself with a convict could have cost me my life too, but I didn’t care anymore.
My relationship with my possessions began to change as well. One of the first things I did was buy as many burial spices as I could. I spared no expense. It was a small way for me to symbolize that money was no longer my priority.
Finally, I put him in MY tomb. I thought I would be the one laying here one day. It was a way for me to represent the truth that a part of me really did die. It may sound odd, but in dying, I found that I could truly live.
There is someone laying in my tomb yet somehow I’m more alive than I’ve ever been.