TRYING TO SERVE TWO MASTERS

In the middle of Matthew 19, we find our Lord in dialogue with a young man who is rich and prominent. Matthew 19:20~The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” (ESV) If you feel pretty good about your spiritual walk you may have thought that also. So, Jesus reveals his problem by telling him what he must do to be perfect and have treasure in heaven. Matthew 19:21~Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect (τέλειος teleios), go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (ESV) 

In this context, the word perfect (τέλειος teleios) is a synonym for salvation. This man has said in front of everyone, I do everything asked of me, and no one objected. He seems to be a good man. Charles de Gaulle said The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men. Those are great men and women who did great things and yet this is not what Jesus is saying. Our Lord is not about this life, if this young, or any man, woman, or child really wants eternal life, they must prove it with their sincerity, by following Jesus. You and I, we cannot let stuff own us and that is what is taking place in the life of this young man. That is why Jesus says let go of what is holding you back. You have been doing good, giving, sharing, helping, but all of that was down in your own effort. So Jesus says, sell. Why, because selling his possessions would not buy him or us, salvation, rather it would prove he understands who Jesus is and desires the eternal life Jesus is offering him, even more. 

The real issue is whether this young man is willing to do what Jesus Christ asks, no matter the sacrifice. Will he allow Jesus to be Lord over all, or not at all? His disciples have given up their occupations, and all but one will die a violent death. Will this rich man give up his money? No, he will not, so he goes away sorrowful. Matthew 19:22~When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (ESV) Apparently, the young man loves his wealth and the prestige far above salvation. The point being made is found in Luke 16:13~No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (NIV) Obstacles to the kingdom of heaven aren’t just material possessions. For some, it might be a career, a position, a sinful relationship, a habit, or a hundred other things. Many poor people are just as far from the kingdom as this rich young man. If we desire to find our place in eternity then, we must realize that salvation is obtained by grace alone, and not of works, so you and I, cannot boast or work our way to heaven. Eternal life requires us to abolish any and all obstacles that stand in the way of us making Jesus Lord over all.

Today, is there anything in your life that you have an ongoing struggle with? If so, the Lord may be telling you to let go, to offer up, or take it to the market place on the book of faces. Whatever it is, you will not be truly free until you let go of the hold it has on you. This is a terrific time, the perfect place, for you to take the ideal inventory of what God has for you, by letting go.


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