But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.
(Matthew 6:20 HCSB)

Series Focus: “Along the Way”

Would you consider yourself a “realist” or a “dreamer?” On any given day you might bounce back and forth. I prefer the word “visionary” to dreamer because in most cases, I look at the possibilities rather than the obstacles. Whether a movie, book, or real-life scenario, I am going to root for things to end well. While this doesn’t always happen, I will remain a cheerleader for the joyous outcome!

What about your happily ever after? When the toil of this life is over, will you be rejoicing in the presence of God for eternity? Will you stand still, in awe of your Savior, or dance in the streets of Heaven? Think about it for a moment. Do you have questions? Doubts? Certainty? I am so grateful for a Father who cares so much about us. He has already prepared our way home.

Jesus had been in Judea teaching the crowds as He had been doing everywhere He went. As He was going on His journey, Jesus had an encounter with a man. We learn different things about this man through the telling of the incident in three of the gospels. Let’s take a look:

As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up to Him and fell on his knees before Him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
(Mark 10:17-31 NIV)

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 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.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 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.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.
(Luke 18: 18-23 NIV)

The text is very similar, and Mark and Luke both note specific characteristics about the man. Luke lets us know the man is some type of ruler and Mark tells us this man “ran up to Jesus and fell upon his knees before Him.” Matthew’s gospel describes this man as young. All three write about the young man’s extreme wealth.

His question to Jesus was, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” This man had lived under the “Jewish Law” and knew the commandments, but didn’t fully understand who Jesus was. He called Him a Good Teacher, respectfully, but not the Messiah. The man wanted security that he would have eternal life but thought he had to work for it.

I have asked this question too. Just tell me what to do, Lord, and I will do it. For years, I strived to do nice things—good things—to secure my place in Heaven. But Jesus, wanted me to realize my deep need for Him as Savior, rather than a “to do” list.

When Christ asked the man to sell all he owned and follow Him, the young man became sad. It revealed his true heart in those moments. He chose the treasures of the earth over the treasure found in Heaven. There would be no happily ever after for this ruler.

Jesus offers His grace freely to us when we call upon Him:

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV)

Our salvation is not tied to good deeds, however, a price was paid for our freedom. Because of the sacrifice made on our behalf, I pray our focus, our actions, our thoughts, and our lives point to Christ. May He become greater and we become less. May nothing in this world be more important to us but Him. Let’s leave the treasures of this world behind, and bask in our happily ever after with God.

Holding Fast to Hope,
Jen

Scriptures: Matthew 6:20, 19:16-30, 5:3; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-23; Ephesians 2:4-5; John 14:6

Video will be posted on Friday following each Monday Morning Hope post.