Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Luke 18:18

Luke 18:18
And some ruler asked Him, saying, “After doing what will I inherit eternal life?”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

We’re going to take a good long look at this portion of scripture, because I think that this section and the related sections that follow really have much to say to modern culture, especially modern Western culture.  First, notice that this is a ruler who asks the question.  Here is a mover and a shaker.  Here is a person used to getting His way.  Here is a person who has lived a largely blessed life.  There is a reason that this question comes from this man.  Only people with more than they need worry about inheritances.  Only people with an overabundance of riches worry about an inheritance.  We need to learn this point.  Our worry and our stress often has much to say about our culture and context.  Most people in Western culture are more likely to worry about inheritance and stock markets than they are going to worry about their next drink of clean water or the next time they’ll be able to sleep in a safe place.

What do your worries and stress say about your life and your condition?  How can being aware of this help us understand priority and blessing?

Second Thought:

Next, look at the question that he asked.  “After doing what...?”  The ruler is focused on actions.  He isn’t focused on the condition of the heart.  He isn’t focused on passages like Hosea 6:6, Psalm 51:15-17, and Joel 2:13.  He is concerned about the outward appearances.  Again, I think this is a failing we see in much of humanity and especially in the Western culture.  We like to see actions.  We like to see results.  We find it so much easier to judge someone by what is done or what is said than what is truly in the heart and in the motivation.  We easily condemn an action gone wrong without even considering the intent of the heart.  Relationship with God is first about the heart.  Then it is about living according to His ways.  It we forget to put the heart right first, we can end up blindly obeying without actually being in relationship!

How often do you consider the results of your actions?  How often do you consider the intentions leading to your actions?  Which is easier to judge?  Which is more important to judge?

Third Thought:

The ruler then asks the part of the question that we love to focus upon: “inherit.”  Is the kingdom of God a reward we earn?  Is eternal life a wage we receive for good work?  Is it something that is due to us?  Of course not!  The kingdom of God is a thing of grace and mercy.  We don’t earn anything.  We receive from God’s very hand and then respond to His grace.

Why is it important to make sure we understand that eternal life is a gift and not a reward or wage?  How do you live this out in your life?  Do you ever forget this lesson?  If so, what does it look like when you do?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 18:19-23
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