Read thru the New Testament 2018
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids
Bible Reading: Matthew 19:16-30
In this passage, a young man approaches Jesus and asks Him a straightforward question: How do I get to Heaven. I think that he was sincere in his question…he just wasn’t prepared for the extent of the answer. Without even realizing it…he had already placed limitations on the answer. He would accept the answer…as long as it stayed within his boundaries.
Jesus knows exactly what is in this man’s heart. The man actually asked Jesus, “What do I have to do to go to Heaven?” Emphasis on “do”. Jesus knew that there was nothing that we can “do” to go to Heaven. But, in order to engage this man in conversation and hopefully to bring about a change in his heart, Jesus said that if there was something that we could “do” to go to Heaven…it would be to keep the 10 Commandments. The man’s response is interesting. He says, “I’ve done that. And yet, I still feel like something is missing.” Jesus had made His point. There was something missing…Heaven. There is nothing you can “do” to get to Heaven. Not even keeping the Commandments. So, he was till missing Heaven. The reality is…while this man said that he had kept the Commandments…he knew that he had not actually done so. He may have tried. He may have come close. But to whatever degree he had kept them…he knew in his heart that he had not done so perfectly, without ever making an error. So, Jesus was making it clear that it is not possible to go to Heaven by some mere action. It isn’t keeping the Commandments. It isn’t some external deed, or good work, or self-righteousness. It isn’t an external matter at all…but an internal matter. It isn’t a matter of what you do…but what you are. Now, Jesus knew exactly what this man was…what the condition of his heart was. And, He knew exactly what it would take for the young man to realize what he was. So, Jesus told the young man that in order for him to go to Heaven…he would have to sell all that he owned and give it to the poor. Make sure that you notice that Jesus was speaking to this young man about his need…this is not a specific command that everyone has to follow. Why did Jesus tell him that? Because He knew that this man valued his earthly treasure…more than he valued Heavenly treasure. He wanted to go to Heaven bad…but not that bad. So, Jesus told him, that you can’t take hold of Heaven…until you first let go of earth. Suddenly, the man realized the truth of what Jesus had said. He knew that he wanted to keep his possessions…more than he wanted to gain Heaven. And he went away sad. Perhaps he was sad because he realized that while he said he had kept the Law, the Commandments…after all of that…it had done him no good. As hard as he had tried…it had not changed what he was, his heart. Now he was doubly sad. He couldn’t gain Heaven the way that he wanted. And, he had come to the realization that his heart was so filled with greed for earthly possessions that he was going to miss out on true treasure in Heaven.
I said that when Jesus told the man that he would have to sell all that he had in order to go to Heaven…that was not a specific command for everyone. However, it is a general principle for everyone. In order to go to Heaven…we have to be willing to empty our hands (and heart) of anything that we value more than God. It may not be tangible treasures such as money, and possessions. It may be our lifestyle, our morals, our values, our attitudes, our behavior. It is anything that we value more than we value God. To go to Heaven…we must accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. That means that we value Him, and our relationship with Him, more than anything else. Period. I have a question for you: Are you still missing something? Or, do you have Heaven in your heart…because your heart belongs to Heaven?
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
I have some friends whose house caught on fire and burned all the way to the ground. Everything in the house was destroyed. Their clothes, televisions, electronic games, dolls, pictures, computers, books, furniture, piano, rugs, bicycles, skateboards, toothbrushes, food, everything. I got to their house while it was still burning and the fire department was trying to put it out. It was a mess. If the fire didn’t destroy their stuff…all the water did. After it was over…all that was left was a smoldering, smoking, smelly, drenched pile of junk.
It made me think. If our house caught on fire and I had the chance to save 5 things what would they be? What if I could only save 3 things? Or, 1 thing? Aside from my family…what are the most valuable things that I have? What is the 1, single, most valuable thing that I treasure more than anything else? What would I save?
A young man approached Jesus and asked Him, “Jesus, what do I have to do in order to go to Heaven?” Jesus said, “Well, if there was something that you could do to go to Heaven it would be to obey the 10 Commandments.” The young man said that he had done that, already. And yet, he still felt like something was still missing. When he said that he had kept the 10 Commandments…he probably didn’t mean the same thing that Jesus meant. You see, Jesus knew that we cannot do anything to get to Heaven. Not even keep the 10 Commandments. Jesus knew that we are not supposed to keep the 10 Commandments in order to “get” something from God…like Heaven. We are supposed to keep the 10 Commandments in order to “give” something to God…our love and our worship. We tell God that we love Him by keeping His Commandments. And, we express our worship to God (worship means “value”) by keeping His Commandments. And yet, this man thought that if he kept the 10 Commandments…somehow, it meant that God owed him something. If he kept the Commandments…God had to let him into Heaven. Not hardly. But his conversation with Jesus did bring him to an important realization. In the process of trying to keep the Commandments…he had realized that something was still missing. What was it? His heart. He had given God his effort…but not his heart. You see…you can do all sorts of good stuff and keep the Commandments…and still not love God with your heart. There was something else in this man’s heart. There was something else that he loved more than God. His possessions. He was a very rich man and he looooved his stuff. And yet, all of that stuff didn’t satisfy his heart, either. So, while he had kept the Commandments…and had all that stuff…he was still unhappy. Something was still missing. What was it? God. His heart was filled with his keeping the Commandments and with his stuff…but God was not in it. God was not in his heart. So, Jesus told him…there is only room in your heart for one thing. Either God is there, or something else is there. If you want God to be in your heart…you’ve got to clean house…you’ve got to get rid of whatever else is in there. So, Jesus told the man, “Go sell all of your stuff and give it to the poor. Then, follow Me.” When Jesus told the man to “follow Me”…He was telling him to put God in his heart, because Jesus was God. The guy was really bummed out. He really, really loved his stuff. He didn’t realize that when you have God in your heart…you have the most valuable thing in the whole universe. There is nothing more valuable than God! So, he left. And all he had was his stuff.
Remember my friend and the house fire? Did you decide what is the one most valuable thing in your house that you would save if your house caught on fire? Don’t misunderstand…we can have stuff and it can be very important to us. That’s okay. But, it cannot be the most important thing. It cannot be more important than God. God has to have first place in your life, in your heart. And here is the amazing thing. When you love God more than anything else in life…more than any of your stuff…then He fills your heart and He shows you the right way to value your stuff. And when that happens…then you will not be lacking in anything. Jesus is saying to you the same thing that He said to the man…”come, follow Me.” What’s the most valuable thing in your life?
Love you more than bunches and bunches,