One of the many things I love about writing for Bible Journal is that it causes me to constantly look for God’s will, plan, and orchestration in daily experiences. This week, I was in a conversation with a person who shared “I believe in God… I believe life is all about being a good person“. Jesus gives a great response to this “good person” philosophy in today’s reading in the story of “The Rich Young Man”…
And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17)
Today’s reading link: Matthew 19
Striving to be a good person is an excellent goal, except the problem is that there is no measuring stick to tell us how good is good enough. Perhaps you think I’m a good person for writing this blog, or that I’m a good dad, so does that mean I’ll inherit eternal life? Was I a good person when I had mean thoughts about someone, when I cursed (no one but God heard me), or when I was blatantly selfish, all today? There is only one who is good, and that is God. Jesus doesn’t tell the rich young man (nor anyone, ever) that to inherit eternal life they must be a good person. In this story, Jesus tells the man, to be perfect (or complete) he must sell his possessions, give to the poor, and to follow him:
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)
Perhaps we’re not all called to sell everything, but for this next part I’m going to focus on our possessions or the things we strive to possess. My wife and I have been talking a lot lately about minimalism; specifically relating to letting go of the stuff we don’t need nor want, as well as refraining from buying things that we don’t need. In today’s world of free two-day shipping and online stores selling millions of different products, it is easy to fall into temptation to keep buying and buying things and piling them up. Even if those things we’re purchasing are bought with the best intentions, it is without a doubt that no matter how much we think we need something, often times we are trying to fill a void that will never be filled in this lifetime.
Jesus offers eternal life because life here is flawed. No matter how much money, how many houses, how many devices to make coffee (I have several devices to make coffee and I want more, more, more…), or whatever else, unless we set our sights and hearts on placing our treasure in heaven, it will never be enough. The things of this world weigh us down, even when they’re “good”, so while Jesus’ teaching is heavenly focused, it is also perfect instruction for us here today.