And there came one to him and said ¨Teacher, what good thing shall I do to have eternal life?¨ Matthew 19:16 (Byington)
This has been the age-old question on the lips of mankind since the dawn of creation. It is the wonder of every single individual who has paused to look towards heaven and consider his or her relation to the Creator.
We learn to work on our behavior by learning the rules even before kindergarten. Some people reach great heights of creativity and others more common feats like baking a cookie. But we all know that we can do something if we learn how, and follow the pattern that we know will take us to that end.
Then we come to religion.
There are, and have been many different sets of beliefs held throughout all the ages and in every corner of the planet. Mankind keeps searching for that recipe or formula that will get them their desired result.
Christians, claim to have found that recipe. Our instructions are laid out for us in the Bible and the stories of believers who went before us. We turn our eyes upward and look towards the heavens. This would be our goal, to have everlasting life and be allowed to enter the very presence of the Divine and gaze upon the Creator Himself.
But what is the method to use? Which teaching should we follow? Which one of all the world´s religions has got that secret recipe?
One came to Jesus to ask that very question. This young man had observed all the religious and social requirements he knew of. But He wanted to hear from the ¨Teacher¨ which was the correct way and what was he still lacking.
Now this is a very commendable thing indeed, to come to the Savior genuinely seeking an answer. But was he really prepared for what the Lord would ask of him?
Patiently Jesus led the young man through the rules, but as they did, it was evident that this was not the special key. Had it been so easy, we all could sigh in relief. In the end Jesus disclosed the long-awaited secret passage. But it seemed so impossible!
To acquire the single-most sought after goal, one had to sell all. To receive, one has to give. To gain, we need to lose. This is so sad. How can this be? The rich young man went away disappointed. The secret recipe was not what he expected.
Today in our age, we are much like this poor inquirer. Possession of all kinds has secretly taken control of our existence. We are slaves to having, desiring, wanting and acquiring. Even religion itself is sold to us as a gaining of something. We fill our houses full of all the things we have ever wanted. We come here or go there because of some strong bent of our soul. Then we go to the Lord with this same mentality.
What can God offer us? How can we get our hands on that too?
Jesus has the answer, but perhaps we do not want to hear it. He does not ask us to follow the prescribed process and all we have to do is learn that recipe. He takes us by surprise and points us in the other direction. Look away, turn our backs on ourselves. Give it all to others. Instead of taking for us, giving everything away. It is not a set of rules or steps; it is a way of being.
Dear Jesus, we come as the young man did asking for the key. Please help us swallow what you would point out. Our hearts have long been slaves to our own desires. But You call us away from all that. Help us to exchange all that we have, all that we want, all that we do, and come follow You. The effort is too great for us and how can we sell off all those riches we have accumulated? So please take us by the hand to aid us in turning the direction of our hearts.
Help us to sell all to seek and follow You.
In Your name we come,