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. Maura says:

    Praying and believing with you Lauren. Our Lord is able. He knows your longing for this child . Lord I am knocking with Lauren, asking for a new creation to be blessed to have her as a mother. We know you Jesus and ask for this miracle in the power, love and joy of your name, please bring this miracle to bless Lauren. Thank you Lord.

  2. Lauren G says:

    I am not usually a commenter, but today I am blown away by God’s goodness in providing this study right when I needed it.

    Yesterday I journaled about feeling completely hopeless, tired, and sad. I continue to struggle through “unexplained infertility” and on Tuesday afternoon I had an appointment to kick off my third IUI cycle. The first two times I was full of hope and confidence, but this time feels different. I’ve almost been feeling like the whole thing is pointless. The third cycle is a big one, because if it isn’t successful doctors start looking at the next (and more extreme) step, so it feels like there’s a lot riding on this.

    ANYWAY- yesterday I was feeling emotionally exhausted and hopeless…. and the very first verse in today’s reading is Jesus explaining the need to “pray always and not give up.”

    I actually laughed out loud at this.

    I continue to read and God reminds me in THREE separate verses that nothing is impossible or too difficult for him! Thank you, Jesus!

    I felt hopeless yesterday but today I pray for the faith and perseverance of the blind beggar. When logic and statistics about IUI success rates tell me to be quiet, may I “cry out all the more”, never giving up and trusting that there is nothing impossible for my God.

    Regardless of the outcome of cycle three, I know that MY God- the God who works wonders!- is faithful and strong. Nothing is too difficult for him!

    1. Sarabeth Segars says:

      Praying with you Lauren. May God give you peace and rest in Him and your heart’s desires.

  3. Crystal Ann says:

    Some days I feel as if I don’t measure up to what God wants or who he truly made me to be. I feel judgemental, unforgiving and question how to be a better mother and a better wife and above all a better child of God. The reading this morning lets me see that I need to give more and show more selfless love to others without feeling like no one appreciates me or that I deserve a gold medal. I want to give God more of myself everyday in every way possible.

  4. DebRN says:

    Jesus said, “One thing you still lack, sell all you possess and distribute it to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven…” Who can do this and make it count? In my eyes, it is Jesus alone. Even if we did sell all that we had in our homes, it would not earn us eternal life. We receive it because Jesus did exactly what He described. He gave up all He had to give it to the poor. That’s us. And yes, the standard of living in the Central America is a huge wake up call. I learned the lesson that I am a steward of the gifts God has given us when I told visitors from El Salvador to “take what you need” from our home. And you know what? The truly needy will take just what they need.

  5. Stephanie S says:

    Here’s what I’m contemplating this morning…

    What do I “hope” will save me?

    -my career
    -success at work
    -my sales skills
    -my (healthy) weight
    -my health in general
    -my savings account
    -my intelligence

    (Sad to see it in writing. I honestly believe these things can/will save me. If only…)

    How can I take these “possessions,” sell them all, to go and follow him? What does it look like in each area.

    Lord, reveal your heart to me. Show me the way.

    1. S S says:

      Stephanie, this resounds with me so deeply. It is so honestly stated and I am sure there are many other shes here that would create the same list (myself included). May we all turn our hearts to the Lord and ask him to reveal his path for us. May we have the strength and fortitude to follow the path that He asks of us!

    2. Becky Kuiper says:

      In addition to my comfort and our salaries, I add to Stephanie’s list:
      – my looks
      – healthy, pain-free loving
      – a sound mind
      – my husband
      What does it look like to surrender these to God? Scary. But He is trustworthy. I don’t need to rely on anything or find my worth in anything other than him. It is peace and hope.

  6. Beth Hinson says:

    I think it is so easy to read about Jesus telling this man to release all of his wealth and possessions to go follow Him and give it a negative connotation. We place so much worth in our things that the idea of giving them all away seems like such a burden, when really it is such a gift!! Jesus is giving this man FREEDOM! Freedom from earthly ideas that say wealth=happiness or that you have to have x,y, and z to fit in. Jesus sees past the facade of importance created by wealth and says we are important because we are God’s children- we don’t need anything else to justify our importance on this Earth! Thank you Jesus for freeing us from the burden of having to prove ourselves and loving your children so well!

  7. Gena Wiltshire-Copeland says:

    This was on point today!!! Thank you, Jesus!!!

  8. Diana Degnan says:

    So so good. Makes me really think about good works and generosity and what I think I’m doing it for. Thank you for this that the refinement keeps on. Praying for us all to have hearts for God. Not out of what we do but what He has done. Who He is. And let our actions be an over flow of that.

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