Monday, April 25, 2011

A Lesson From the Monks

Yesterday night my family watched a 60 minute special on the modern day monks of our world. I honestly didn't even know they still existed. It was so intriguing to watch these men who give up practically everything to live among other monks for one purpose: to get closer to Jesus. They never leave their little "monk village", they have only two meals a day that last 10min each, they get only three hours of sleep at night, they have an eight hour church service daily, wear strange clothes, grow beards, don't marry of have children, and many more things. These things sound crazy, no?
Learning about these men takes me back to the verse where Jesus is talking to a rich man who asks how he can get to heaven:

The Rich Young Man
16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” the man inquired.

Jesus replied, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[d] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[e]”

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, 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.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother[f] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

I honestly think this is what these monks are striving for. When asked why they are doing this one of the monks answered, "we are preparing ourselves to die." Wow. I look up to these men for putting everything world behind them and striving towards heaven. That takes great courage.

Matthew 16:24-25 (New International Version 1984, ©1984)

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Although I do think they have gone a little overboard and I don't think we are all called to be monks, I believe we can admire these men because of how willing they were to put everything on the line and surrender it all to Christ. We should take some on of their strength and apply it to our own lives. One day we will see our King and whatever uncomfortable circumstances we went threw will soon be forgotton. We should be spending each day as our last and pressing onwards towards heaven.

Philippians 3:14 (New International Version 1984, ©1984)
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Your sister in Christ,

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