Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”
And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
— Luke 18:18-23 NKJV
“Show me a man’s checkbook, and I’ll show you where his heart is.” I believe this quote comes from Billy Graham, but I have heard it so often that he may have borrowed it as well. The essence is that our money is spent on those things dearest to us. A friend and I once drove past a white-marbled mansion with grand columns and elaborate windows and lighting. He said, “Wow! I’d be embarrassed to live in a place like that!”
The point of the story is that the ruler’s heart was captured by his wealth. For us it may be something else: some possession, a hobby, our career, our family. Whatever it is it needs to be surrendered to God. Unsurrendered passions will take us down a road away from God’s will for us. They are detrimental to our spiritual well-being. A grand old hymn says it: “All to Jesus I surrender; all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all” (UM Hymnal, No. 354).
Jesus, we are often confused about what we are to be. That usually means that we have not yet allowed You to do in us that which is necessary for us to be pliable to Your will. When we allow You to work on our hearts we find that the things we have, those who are most cherished in our hearts, can keep us from being fully able to follow You. So, Lord, today I give You my permission to work on my heart. I want to fully give all that I have in my heart to You. Empty my hands of the things of this world, so that I may be enabled to receive all that You want me to have for eternity. Amen.
Rev. David C. Collins, Re-tired