Editor’s Note: The AMI devotionals for July 25-26 are provided by Mei Lan Thallman of GCC.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Luke 18:18-32: A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!25 Indeed, 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.” 26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
The contemporary thinking tells us: “If you set your mind to it and are willing to work hard enough, you can achieve anything and have everything—the sky is the limit. Your self-effort is the only thing that is in the way of the goals you want to achieve in life.” The temptation that all of us face, like this rich young ruler, is to bring this kind of thinking into our view of God and our relationship with Him. This young ruler appears to be a sincere, intelligent, disciplined and religious person. Having heard Jesus’ message about the kingdom of God, he wanted to know what he needed do to secure his salvation. To that, Jesus replied, “Keep the commandments.” The young man pressed Jesus with more specific questions like which one of the commandments must he keep, and what else needed to be done.
The mindset of the rich young man is, How can I have it all—to keep my perfect life plus Jesus? as if God exists solely to meet all of his needs and wants and to fulfill his dreams. In response, Jesus goes straight to the heart of the matter—He invites the affluent young man to exchange his temporal wealth for the heavenly treasure, and then follow Him.
Christianity is so much more than going to church, keeping rules, and living a religious life. It is possible for a person to have a religious upbringing or a religious life style without having a personal relationship with Jesus and the assurance of salvation (e.g., the Pharisees, like Nicodemus and Paul before his conversion). When we have a personal encounter with the living Christ, the right response is that of surrendering one’s life completely to the full reign of His Lordship and making necessary adjustments to fulfill His call. Our lives should no longer be about me but about Him. Apostle Paul declared in Philippians 3:7-8, “Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”
If we claim to know and love Jesus, we must know that Jesus demands nothing less than our reckless abandonment to ourselves—our wealth, education, career, family, etc.— in order to follow wholeheartedly after Him.
So, we ask the Holy Spirit to empower us to choose wisely when we are confronted with Jesus’ personal invitation to “come and follow me”. When the rich young ruler chose to hold on to his worldly riches, he missed out on the heavenly riches/eternal riches. In contrast, the disciples made the decision to leave everything to follow Jesus Christ, and as a result, they gained much more than salvation—their lives were eternally transformed by Christ who used these ordinary men extraordinarily. Let us choose wisely our path.
Lord, by Your grace and empowerment, may we choose wisely when we hear Your call to lay down our own riches to follow You. May we not choose a religious, moral and safe life over an intimate, spiritual and dedicated relationship with Jesus. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Amos 6-7