18A 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. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[f]“
21“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
22When 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.”
23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
27Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
28Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
29“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” Luke 18:18-30
Its a interesting little interchange here between the ruler with great wealth and Jesus which leads into a intriguing section about the great benefits of discipleship.
We have heard the act of saving is Gods alone. Then we hear of what that will mean for the life of the disciple. A denial of things for the sake of the kingdom.
But what I find amazing is what Jesus says next. Those who are willing to take the call to kingdom living seriously, receive numerous blessing.
I get the stuff about the age to come, but what of the things in this age?
Jesus is obviously saying “forsake things for the kingdom, but this kingdom living will be worth it”.
It seems to me that far too often as Christians we seem to get stuck on the cost to ourselves, of things we do or deny, for the sake of the kingdom.
Why is it we forget about the things we receive in this age? I think its because I fail to really know what this stuff is. It is probably because I have a distorted view of true benefits.
I need to dwell more on the wonderful benefits of living for the kingdom? Do you?
It is sometimes hard to remember the benefits of leaving behind a “home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God”. The world continually tells us that life is all about being selfish and accumulating wealth. However, the Gospel community in Acts 2 gives us a great picture of the benefits in this life of serving Jesus:
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Those that were part of this community received financial and practical support from their many brothers and sisters in Christ. This sort of community is something that drew unbelievers into it. May God help us to become more like this community in Acts.
It’s so true that God blesses us in every dimension of life. I reckon we must be the most blessed generation ever to have lived, but I doubt we’re the most thankful. The really sad thing is that our lack of gratitude turns good things into bad things, as Paul says in 1 Tim 4:4, “everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving”. Another thing about gratitude is that it flows out of a recognition that the good things we have are from God – remembering this will help us to be generous – just as God has been to us. I think that’s one of the things that’s going on in Acts 2. Yes David, let’s be more like that!