When we read Luke 18:18 again or even the version in Matthew 19:16, we can understand that the young rich ruler earnestly desires something greater than what he has. He desires eternal life, but, what exactly does he believe that looks like? Will eternal life be a continuation of the sumptuous and material-filled life he’s already experienced? I know I can relate with this sense of eternal life, because it’s easy and it means you get to keep all your stuff! But, there’s one big problem with this, all the stuff we accumulate in life may potentially distract and take us away from our Christian life. The calling or purpose of our life as Christians is perfection, which is only possible with God’s help. This life of Christian perfection involves a creative tension between what we now are and what we can be tomorrow. The road to this kind of perfection is endless, and Christians can follow it to a more perfect obedience when they prayerfully:
1) Seek a deeper communion with the Holy Spirit
2) Continue to grow in their love for Christ
There are two differences worth noting from the reading found in Matthew 19. This passage phrases the young ruler’s question as: “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” It also shows the young man to be more eager and perceptive, because he tells Jesus that he lacks something instead of the other way seen in Luke 18 today. Does he seem like a know-it-all, or maybe genuinely expects eternal life to be more of the same life he’s already lived? Either way, he is thoroughly disappointed when Jesus responds that his possessions are an obstruction to this goal. He is saddened because he doesn’t want to sell his things and cannot make the even harder sacrifice to follow Christ. His eyes are so fixed on the ground with all his stuff, he can’t really turn his attention up toward the heavens or follow Jesus. That’s the same thing that happens to each of us on a regular basis. We become so immersed in our life and sometimes taken away from focusing on Christ. While the guidance Christ gives to the young ruler is demanding and may seem impossible at times, it is the sure way to inherit eternal life. We know this is true because of what Jesus Christ did for us, being the highest example of self-giving by devoting Himself completely to God’s work. This is achievable, however, because what is impossible for man in possible for God! My prayer for each of you is that you make time to fill your life with readings from the Bible, prayer and attending Church. The more we prepare to receive Christ into our life now, the more we will be prepared to enter into eternal life with Him! And if you’re still wondering how much Gatorade it will take to become Michael Jordan, I encourage you to think about the many hours of hard work and sacrifice it really takes to play basketball or any sport well!
With Love in Christ,