What a Dumb Question!

Matthew 19:16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

What a dumb question.  I really just don’t want to believe that someone who evidently was wealthy and evidently was in some way wise would asked such an off based question. I mean the whole perspective of the question is all wrong.

But maybe this is what most people naturally gravitate towards when they think of religion and in turn Christianity. It becomes a kind of investment into our post death retirement fund.

The psalmist writes “whom have I in heaven but thee” and “who have I on earth but Thee”(psalm 73). The Levites where the first priesthood and when all of the land of Israel was given to the tribes the Levites did not get a piece of land they got “the Lord as their portion”(Num. 18:20). But now we are a priesthood according to Hebrews.

So what is this guy thinking, the son of God who gives salvation by grace to those who call on him, stands in front of God incarnate and calls him “teacher” or some old texts say that he says “good teacher”. Can you hear the lofty ignorance? I can almost picture a man rollin’ up in a limo, rollin’ down his window and asking “Pardon me, but do you happen to have some Grey Poupon?”. Okay so maybe this guy was being honest and just speaking what he knew. Or maybe he was just after the “reward” of the faith, but not the cost of it all. I once heard someone say in a prayer meeting “thank you for making this such an adventure kind of like a Indiana Jones movie.” And the truth is that this life gives you a purpose beyond what you can understand. You are valuable and you have curtain gifts that God wants you to use. He puts you on paths that are mysterious and dangerous and gives you the tools to conquer every situation.

I heard a preacher one time pose the question “What if there was not a heaven? What if the experience of the Kingdom here on earth was it? Would it be worth it?”

If you are having a hard time with that question maybe you are in the wrong church. Maybe you have not really put your whole heart mind and strength into searching for God. Maybe you need to give up something that has been keeping you back.

Our God is a jealous God, he wants to spend time with us and nourish us. Not for a reward: either socially or spiritually, but an honest down right experience with Him. When you take off your watch, turn off the TV, put down the book, and quiet yourself He is there. Can you feel Him? Nouwen says that you can never be less alone than when your alone. That’s why we naturally try to avoid solitude avoid silence. But as Jason Upton sings “In the silence you are speaking”.

So may you remember that the Kingdom of God is at hand and that God is only far as you run from Him. At an honest whisper of the heart he is amazingly responsive. Call Him and see.  

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. blake says:

    So many Christians and non-Christians alike can’t seem to understand that participating in life with Christ is not a punishment. Nor should it be a life based on working for the end result of etenal life. If there were no eternal life, if all we got as a reward was this….the life we have here on earth (but Christ was with us the whole time) would it be worth it? You betcha!! Christ takes care of me far better than I could ever care for myself. I pray so often that the world will come to a place of understanding that living a life that is led by Christ is not something to be feared, but to be rejoiced. I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t cry out to be loved in the way that we are loved by the Lord.

    If your goal is eternal life and not something more fundamentally human (to love and to be loved) then maybe the life of Christianity is not for you!
    Great post, Jason! I love your insight!

  2. Mash says:

    The thing that really stinks about the “what good deed can I do” question is that there is still religious doctorine floating around that is works based to the degree of this same pompous man in the bible. “What good thing can I do?” And how many people have prayed a “sinner’s prayer” just for the fire insurance?

    Thank God for grace!

    Thank God for the story of the prodigal’s son that says in Luke 15:20:

    So the son left and went to his father.
    “While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for his son. So the father ran to him and hugged and kissed him.

    “While the son was still a long way off!” Woohoo!

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