Who are we living for?

Date: Friday, November 15

ScriptureLuke 18:18-30

Verse: A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18)

I had a conversation with a student recently who told me he didn’t do any extra credit classwork because he didn’t have to. We were joking and having fun, but I imagine there are many of us who have heard this said more seriously. We know the person at work who does just enough to keep from getting fired, the friend at school who is happy with Cs though they could do better, or the one in the relationship who doesn’t put in the effort. There are some who want to know the minimum requirements so they can aim for that.

When I read the story of the ruler who comes to Jesus and asks, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” in the context of the rest of Luke 18, I hear a “minimum requirements” question. Everything Jesus says, the man says he has already done. Even reading this 2,000 years later, I can hear the pride in his voice. It appears as though he has asked the question to prove himself worthy. He is not really asking for new information, he is looking for Jesus’ “seal of approval” upon him as a certified member of the Kingdom of Heaven. He wants Jesus to tell him he has done it right, has nothing to worry about, and that one day the ruler will be with Jesus in paradise.

Jesus doesn’t give the ruler what he wants. Instead, Jesus says the thing that will cut the ruler to the heart, “Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor.” Maybe the ruler thought his wealth was a sign of God’s favor, a reward for his faithfulness to the Law. Or maybe, when push came to shove, he trusted his money more than God. Either way, Jesus challenges his assumptions. Faith is not about getting God’s seal of approval on our lives, as much as following Jesus with everything we have, and entering his. In other words, it isn’t about doing the minimum. It’s about giving our all.

Prayer: Teach me, Lord Jesus, what it means to live my life fully for you. Amen.

Action: Identify the “possessions” you would not want to give up to follow Jesus. What is holding you back from fully committing to Christ? How can you move closer to that complete commitment?

Respond: When have you (or someone else) gone above and beyond just because you loved what you were doing? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below.
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About Joe Iovino

Christian, husband & father, Associate Pastor in Monument CO, guitar player, motorcyclist, Mets fan.
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