Midrash on the Rich Young Ruler

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Midrash on the Rich Young Ruler
2016 10 16 – Toronto United Mennonite Church

Read before our sermon: Going Back to the Beginning, following on from the scripture reading of Mark 10:19-27 – The Rich Young Ruler.

Then after He had said these things, one of His disciples, who was late, because he had been making sandwiches, crept in and whispered to Bartholomew  ‘so what did I miss’?

And Bartholomew whispered back what had transpired, how the rich young ruler had approached Jesus and the question he had asked, and the answer that he had heard, and how he had gone away in sorrow, and Phillip, the disciple who was late, was amazed at these words.

And Phillip considered these matters in his heart with trepidation, because he happened to have some investments in a fish paste company and he wondered if he was supposed to have cashed those in and give the money to the poor.

And Judas Iscariot, who was bored and ready for lunch, looked around and saw that Phillip was perturbed and said ‘cheer up, it may never happen’. And Phillip told him the question of his heart and Judas stroked his beard knowingly.

“When the Teacher said to sell everything and give the money to the poor, he was referring to property and goods and the like” explained Judas, who was known to be good at numbers. “If your investment has not matured, it would be silly to cash it in. Over the long haul, properly managed, an investment of this nature will be more beneficial to the poor because properly financed companies provide jobs for people, and you can tithe on the income. Cashing it in now would be like, oh I don’t know, chopping down a tree just because it happens to have no fruit on it at the specific moment you are hungry.”

And Phillip, whose head was spinning, withdrew for a time to ponder, and did not hear Judas inquiring with interest about who was managing his money these days.

Meanwhile Andrew, having heard these words, started to wonder about the boat and nets he had left behind to follow Jesus, and whispered to his brother Simon, who was called Peter, “Did you sell our boat and nets when we left to follow Jesus?”

And Simon said “no, were we supposed to? He never said we should sell our boat and nets. Were we supposed to sell them? How are we supposed to find a buyer in this economy?”

And Andrew said “I know, fishing’s not what it used to be, although I hear there’s good money to be made supplying fish paste to the Romans”.

And Andrew leaned over to James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and carefully inquired if they had made arrangements to sell their fishing boat or not, and they all started to talk about the fish paste market and how Romans ate the weirdest things until they were shushed by Phillip, who trying to work out his tax write-off if he donated his shares to the Leper colony.

And Andrew muttered to himself, “well, if He wanted us to sell up then He would have said, wouldn’t he? Besides, we’re not rich. Fishing is all we know. Teach a man to stop fishing and what do you get? I mean, what kind of person spends their life praying for daily bread? ”

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