Friday, April 17, 2015

Our inheritance: eternal life; a question of values, what is in your hands?

What is in your hands? What are you holding onto so tightly? Our hands and our hearts are made to hold onto only one thing at a time. Jesus said, "a man cannot serve two masters for he will inevitably hate the one and love the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon (riches)."

Peter wrote that we have a "priceless inheritance" (1Pet 1:4). God wants to give us something that is wonderful beyond anything we can imagine, but first we need to "let go" of some things so that we can receive it. One day a young rich man comes to ask Jesus how to "inherit eternal life". Here's what happened:

Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good.  But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’” The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.  When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!  In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God,  will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”  Luke 18:18-30

This young rich ruler had something in his life that he valued MORE THAN JESUS, more
than the eternal life he wanted Jesus to promise him. His hands and his heart were full of money. He had no room for Jesus. Compare him to Zacchaeus who after meeting Jesus said "I'll give half of all my riches to the poor and repay everyone I have cheated 4 times over." (He probably needed 1/2 his money to repay the people he had overcharged for taxes). Zaccheus valued Jesus above all else. Jesus said "today salvation has come to this house."

Not so, the rich young ruler. He went away sad "for he was very rich". This has to be one of the strangest sentences I have ever heard. Say it outloud 3 times "he became very sad, for he was very rich". It doesn't make sense to us, because we like him value money so highly. We think surely money will make me happy. How can this be? He wanted eternal life. He wanted to follow Jesus, but his hands and his heart were full of the "love of money". To love Jesus he had to stop loving riches.

What's in your hearts? What's in your hands? What are you holding onto that keeps you from loving and following Jesus? It's probably not riches. It might be a relationship that you know is wrong; a grudge you are holding onto, a person you refuse to forgive, a goal that you know is not from God... what is in your heart? Do you value it so much that you will walk away from Jesus, walk away from eternal life, walk away from the priceless inheritance God has prepared for you?

Don't let this sentence describe you: She/he became very sad, for she/he was very (rich/resentful/hurt/addicted to sin/involved in a wrong relationship/________. (you fill in the blank.) Please don't let this happen to you.