June 17

Text: Matthew 19:16

And behold, one came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" (NASB)

Today, we likely are impressed with the spirituality of this man.  First, he came.  He was motivated enough by his spiritual concern to take action.  Second, he recognized Jesus’ authority.  He brought his question to Jesus, not to the experts in the Law of Moses (the lawyers), nor the Pharisees, nor the Sadducees’—all of whom would have responded differently.  He trusted Jesus’ answer—Jesus had the correct answer.  Third, he asked the correct question.  He was concerned about eternal life, not about any form of material wellbeing.

However, Jesus was not impressed.  Nor was Jesus deceived or flattered by the man’s presence, question, or material achievements.  Jesus did not feel a sense of self-importance because the man came to him with his question.

Note some things.  (1) The man had a negative concept of obedience rather than a positive concept.  Obedience to God focused on what the person had not done—not on what he had done.  (2) His view of obedience focused on performance.  “What good thing shall I do?”   Eternal life was a matter of human obtaining, not divine work.  The focus was on “me,” not on God.

Jesus’ answered by focusing on what the man could do.  He answered the question he was asked.  We would not like for Jesus to use that focus with us.  We like to focus on what God does for us. 

Perhaps both the man and we lack balance in our perspectives.  Eternal life is not all about what we do, nor is about all God does for us.  Once again the total incident reminds us that our motives are an important factor.  Eternal life involves more than merely our doing or God’s concern.

Suggestion for reflection: Serving involves the praise of the one served.  Is God praised by your life?  (Read Ephesians 1:3-14.)

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