by Sandy Kirby Quandt
The story is told in the 19th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew of a man who came to Jesus and asked Jesus, “What good must I do to earn eternal life?” The man many call the Rich Young Ruler felt he had all his bases covered. You know; he keep all the required religious laws. Yet, he wanted to make sure he hadn’t left anything undone. So he went to the one he considered a good teacher. Mind you, this man did not call Jesus Lord or Messiah. Just teacher.
“What good must I do to earn eternal life?” Sounded like the man wanted a checklist of good deeds to follow to be sure he earned his spot in heaven.
I’ve met students like this. They never came right out and asked me what was the least they could do and still pass the class, but their actions made it quite clear that’s what they wanted.
Internal motivation to do a job to the best of their ability, was nowhere on their radar.
When Jesus mentioned several commandments recorded in what we refer to as the Ten Commandments, the man said he’d kept all of them, and wanted to know what he lacked. Jesus told the man if he wanted to be perfect, then the man must sell his belongings and give them to the poor. Then, Jesus told the man to follow him.
Matthew tells us the man went away grieving, because he had many possessions.
Although the man asked, “What good must I do to earn eternal life?” he wasn’t willing to put Jesus before his possessions when asked to.
The first commandment tells us not to place anything before God. We might not put our possessions before God, but what about our relationships, jobs, leisure activities …
Jesus told the man if he wanted to have eternal life, it wasn’t a long to-do list of external things to check off.
Jesus is more concerned with heart attitude than outward show. Our motivation to strive to keep the commandments should be because we love God and desire to please. It’s all about internal motivation, not external motivation.
Do we love Jesus enough to let go of the things that keep us from following him?
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A man came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16 (CEV)
I wish you well.
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One of my devotions will appear on Christian Devotions May 17, 2017. Please stop by and check it out.