I read in Luke 18 a few days ago and have been thinking about it off and on ever since. I’ve been asking God to not let me miss what He wants to teach me in the truths He offers there.
Luke 18 introduces us to two men, two very different men.
The first is a rich young ruler. “A ruler questioned Jesus, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ And he said, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth.’
When Jesus heard this, He said to him, ‘One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’
But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.”
We who are extremely rich (which is likely everyone reading this right now) are in danger of somehow thinking all of life is all about us somehow—even eternal life. What can I do to inherit eternal life? What ministries should I give to? What church should I attend? I mean, somehow there is something I can do to help myself gain eternal life…I already do so much, as a matter of fact! I don’t cheat on my husband. I haven’t killed anyone. I don’t steal things…I mean, why would I? I can buy anything I need and most of what I want. I don’t lie, and I love my mom and dad. What more could I possibly do? I think the young ruler thought he was already doing everything he could possibly do to inherit eternal life. He just kind of wanted to hear it from the “Good Teacher’s” mouth.
But Jesus shoots straight for the heart, doesn’t he? He reminds this man that not his wallet nor his list of good things earns him eternal life.
Right here I wonder if maybe a lesson on this topic could have helped the guy—a flannel board story? A little parable, maybe? Like, did Jesus have to go straight to “sell all you own and give it all to the poor and then come follow Me” ? Evidently, He did need to go straight to that. He shoots for the heart. He loved this young rich kid very much and wanted him to let go of all he was holding up to God for approval and find that Jesus already did everything for him. But our stuff blinds us. We hold on to our stuff because so many times our stuff defines us—we think. Our stuff comforts us—temporarily. Our stuff is fun—for a season.
But our stuff is dangerous. We are so full of our stuff that we don’t even see our need for Jesus. We operate in life as if it all depends on us. Instead of raising our empty hands to praise God, we drop them in sadness and walk away from following God. Our hands are just too full for what He has to offer.
And then there is the second man— Bartimaeus, the blind beggar. He didn’t ask any properly worded questions to the “Good Teacher.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Luke 18 tells us that Jesus asked for Bartimaeus to be brought to Him, and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Wow! What a question from the Lord!! Some times we are quick to say (especially after reading about the sad young rich man) that the Lord isn’t concerned about our comforts or what makes us happy. And I get that line of thinking. He does want our hearts right with Him more than our physical desires fulfilled. HOWEVER, He does care about our wants. He loves us. He loved this man so much that He asked him “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Well, duh! Didn’t he know the man wanted to see? Probably so. But Jesus wanted the man to come near, and he did. Jesus wanted to hear him ask, and he did. To hear his faith come out in words. And I want to come near to Jesus and pray with much faith and ask of the Lord things that only He can do. I want to hear my faith expressed in words to my heavenly Father who asks me, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Wow. What an example this blind man is for me.
He was blind, which made knowing his need very evident. He didn’t have a large bank account to go to for help. He had no stuff to speak of…he was a blind beggar.
And so am I. My stuff can sometimes make it hard for me to see my need of Jesus. But I am just a blind beggar, in need of a touch from My Savior. Every. single. day.
I want to go with Jesus, glorifying God and causing others to see His work in my life and praise God….instead of going away sad and alone with my stuff.
How about you? Do you see yourself in the rich young ruler? Is your stuff blinding you to your true need for Jesus’ touch? Are your hands just too full of temporary things to hold onto the eternal?
Do you want to be like the blind beggar? Painfully aware of your need for a touch from Jesus and desperate enough to cry out to Him no matter what? With faith to ask of God what you want? To walk with God and bring great glory to His name?