Day 25

Entering the Kingdom

from the Luke reading plan

Luke 18:1-43, Genesis 18:13-15, Jeremiah 32:17

BY Guest Writer

In my high school youth group, we used to play a game I loved. The game was Bigger or Better, and the object was simple: keep trading up for the biggest or best prize. To start, we were divided into teams and each team was given a single paper clip. We were then unleashed on a neighborhood with a simple assignment: “Come back with something bigger and better than this.” We’d go house to house, making trades. At first, we’d trade in the paperclip for something smallish, like a cup or dish. We’d trade that in for something bigger… say, a basketball or framed piece of art. And on and on we’d go, until we were called back together to display our spoils.

Trading up is always a thrill. This is the message the rich ruler seemed to miss during his encounter with Jesus. He had his eyes on the prize of eternal life, but he misunderstood the path to getting there. Though he recognized Jesus as a “good teacher,” he missed God’s heart. This ruler was a good child who turned into a good man, and he wanted assurance that he was good enough.

Jesus rattled off a few of the ten commandments: “Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother” (Luke 18:20). To which the man had the audacity to respond, “I have kept all these from my youth” (v.21). But even if this man had been perfectly obedient with these commandments, keeping the letter of the law is not the same as following the heart of the God behind that law.

Jesus offered him a trade up.

Instead of keeping all the rules, the man could sell all his belongings. You see, Jesus knew that despite his outward obedience, the rich young ruler was missing out. His money was in the way. Rather than asking the man to make a tremendous sacrifice—another religious task—Jesus was really offering the man his freedom. But it does not always appear that way to those of us who hear such offers. No wonder the crowds declared, “Then who can be saved?” (v.26).

Jesus’s response: “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (v.27).

Go on, bring to the Lord whatever you hope will save you. Bring your good works and best days. Bring your charity and church membership. Bring your idyllic childhood and productive adulthood. And trade them in. He may not ask you to sell everything and give the proceeds to the poor, but He will ask you to part with anything in your life that’s keeping you from knowing the love of God.

Accept Christ’s invitation to lay down your goodness for something better. It’s a trade up.

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Post Comments (42)

42 thoughts on "Entering the Kingdom"

  1. Kirsten Kocyan says:

    This resonates with me today! I’ve been slowly working through this study, and today I’m preaching about this exact idea, of being ready for God’s best. If we are holding onto things that are not God’s best, we will have trouble receiving God’s best for us. This is something God keeps speaking to me personally about, and I’m trying to discern what in particular at this point in my life God is challenging me to release to him…

  2. Donna A says:

    What do I hope will save me? My career? My relationships? My health? Being a generally good person?
    Lord I pray to find my safety in You and You alone. Show me the way to You

  3. Stephanie Harford says:

    I’ve done an in depth study of this passage in the book of Mark, so these are not entirely my thoughts, but do you notice which commandments Jesus leaves out? Namely, “You shall have no other Gods before me, you shall not make idols or bow down and worship them, you shall not take the name of the Lord in vain, you shall keep the Sabbath holy.” These are the commandments that directly relate to our relationship with God, and that’s exactly what the rich young ruler was missing: relationship. Just as Erin said, the young man’s possessions are what got in the way of that relationship, which is why Jesus asked him to sell it all. In Mark’s version of the passage, it says that Jesus looked upon the man and loved him. After Jesus told the man to sell his possessions he walked away sad because he so valued his stuff! It’s heartbreaking to read that this man was loved by Jesus, was being invited in to a relationship with Him, and still he walked away. Some believe that this man was Mark because who else would have been able to tell that Jesus looked upon him with love? Some also believe that Mark writes himself into the garden where Jesus is taken before the cross. He runs off without any clothes! Another detail that only the author would know. If that’s the case, then this rich young ruler did follow Jesus! There’s hope for others too. Those of our friends who are so longing for intimate relationship and who are seeking it everywhere else besides Jesus. That’s the thing, though, it’s a choice. It’s always a choice.

  4. Brittney Boucher says:

    Today I pray that I can give God as much of myself as I can and I can enjoy the little things he places throughout my life during the day :)

  5. Natalia Phillips says:

    Nothing is too hard for God!

    If we truly believe that we will now allow the struggles of life to turn us away from Him, or push us into a “do-it-yourself” mindset.

    In an era with social media, overnight successes and everyone seemingly making it on their own, as children of God may we always remember to pray and not lose heart, knowing that earthly treasures, though nice, don’t bring eternal life.

    God doesn’t want us to lack in any area, but we should not get to the point in our lives where we can’t walk away from everything and simply follow Him.

  6. Ashley White says:

    Love this!

  7. Charlotte Meadows says:

    Well said!!! Spot on! Needed this wonderful reminder of Who and Whose I am! Thank you! Great study!

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