“What You Must Do To Inherit Eternal Life!”
St. Augustine of Hippo, the great African theologian and bishop realised that life is the doing of God. So he said, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they find rest in you.” It was that kind of restlessness of the heart that caused a young rich ruler to ask Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Lk.18:17-27). Jesus asked him to keep all the commandments that prohibits wrong actions and attitudes against others (Ex. 20:12-17; Dt.5:16-21).
The man told Jesus that he had kept all the commandments since he was a boy. Jesus tried to make him understand as he wants to make us understand today that the spiritual depth of the commandments is an expression of genuine love. This genuine love is lacking until you “sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
What a tough answer to a rich, young ruler as it is even to us who have been blessed with wealth! The wealth that we possess is a hindrance to those who have spiritual restlessness of the heart. Salvation is the eternal treasure and is not earned by self-denial or by giving away our wealth. Giving the wealth away is simply removing from your path the obstacle that keeps you from trusting in Jesus.
The man went away sad. May be you too probably want to go away sad because of the greater love you have for your possessions than for eternal life.
My friend, Jesus is telling you and I today that “salvation is totally the work of God. Every attempt to enter the kingdom of God through human achievement or merit is futile. Apart from the grace of God, no one can be saved.”
While we must do what is good, we must be aware that “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his grace and mercy. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast”(Eph.2:8-9). “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”(Ti.3:5).
So therefore, let not your possessions be a hindrance to your spiritual growth. What you have is a blessing of God to be put at the service of humanity so that the Lord’s name may be glorified through you.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ help me to focus less on my possessions and to trust in God’s grace and mercy as I follow you. Amen!
Have a blessed day! Peace be with you!