A COMPLETE TURNAROUND
Lord, give me the vision to see what is really important in life.
Read MATTHEW 19:16–30
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
16 Just then 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, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
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, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich 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 someone who is rich 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, “Truly I tell you, 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 or wife 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do” (Heb. 6:10, NRSV).
Recently some young, affluent business types engaged in a two-week experiment in Melbourne. For one week during winter they lived on the streets with the homeless and then in accommodations for the destitute. Suddenly they found themselves struggling with preconceived ideas which clash with the reality of a radically different lifestyle, along with safety concerns, hygiene issues and the futility of such a life. It turned their lives around—but only temporarily. Soon they retreated back to their former, comfortable living.
This young man who comes to Jesus is impressive. He is diligent in obeying God’s law and is seeking for what he senses is lacking in his life. Perhaps he expects to be given some notable task to perform. He senses that Jesus has whatever it is that he is looking for. He poses his question—but he is unprepared for the answer. Jesus challenges him to sell all he owns, give it to the poor and follow him. That would completely reorient the rest of his life; the cost is simply too great. Jesus challenges the very assumptions on which his life is built.
People without riches can easily condemn this young man, or the wealthy can say that God does not demand this of everyone—but what assumptions are our own lives built upon? We can cling to the security of financial independence, comfortable home and family, education, career or prestige, and end up not following where Jesus leads. We should not be surprised when his call comes to us, as to the disciples, to leave and follow. It’s a great reversal, but there are immeasurably richer rewards down the road than what we relinquish now. Maybe we have turned from God’s call with similar sadness, or our unfulfilled longings indicate we should leave our securities and follow him.
What basic assumptions to your life is God challenging? You might discuss your feelings with a trusted fellow believer and pray together for God’s guidance and strength to obey.
Lord, Your people acknowledge that following You means far more to us than following what the world values.
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