To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
September/October 2015 Issue – Standing Strong, ‘I pray … that you may know … his incomparably great power … the working of his mighty strength’ Ephesians 1:18-19
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Matthew 19:16-30 (NIVUK): “Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’
Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.’ ‘Which ones?’ he enquired.
Jesus replied, ‘“You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honour your father and mother,” and “love your neighbour as yourself.”’
‘All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’ Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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.’
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’
Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’
Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
Notice that Jesus’ answer to the young man was a direct response to his question, ‘What do I still lack?’ It’s a question, all of have to ask Jesus, as we follow Him on this marvellous journey. The answer we receive from God may not have anything to do with wealth and possessions, but many who are living under the influence of western (consumer) culture will have a similar issue to the young man – a dependence on their wealth (or the chasing after wealth because of the belief that it will provide independence).
Selwyn provides an useful summary of what it means to – go, sell – and give: “Sell: get rid of whatever is preventing Jesus being centre of your life. For instance, throw out any books or magazines and delete (avoid) websites or social media that draw you away from the things of God. …
Give: Change the orientation of your life so that you no longer are at the centre. God designed us as other-centred, not self-centred. You will function best when you are more concerned about others than you are about yourself. …
Remember to be faithful in the small things and God will build upon these. (Matthew 25:21)”
It is difficult to give away stuff (wealth), which we find beneficial in this materialistic world, especially if we don’t have a clear vision of our goal – eternal life with Jesus.
Consequently, I think it always good to focus on our most important goal, best answered by the question: What’s it we want out of life? Does your answer match what Jesus said to the young man – to obey the commandments (love God, and love your neighbour), and to give up dependence on people, possessions, things, hobbies, etc..