“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ” (Matthew 19:16)
Here is the world’s view of eternal life — “what must I do?” We are born with the natural tendency for accomplishment. We want to do things, even save our self. Saving our self is especially pleasing and rewarding to us because it is the ultimate “doing.” We are in charge of our eternity. We decide. What power! What pride! And there comes the problem. It is indeed the pride that leads to our downfall — a downfall for eternity. To reverse this type of thought is indeed difficult, actually impossible without God’s help.
Each of us must confess that our question of Jesus is the same as this man’s. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Our honesty will bring us to the truth that we can do nothing but trust Jesus. If we want to say that is “doing” something, then so be it. But the reality is we are changed by the Holy Spirit to believe the promise of God through Jesus and put our trust in Him. Our response is one of confessing Jesus as our Savior and Lord. And that is all of God’s doing through His renewing of our mind from self-serving to God receiving.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the “doing” of our salvation through Jesus. His sacrifice has done everything that needed to be done to bring us eternal life. We receive Your promise through our trust of Him as our Savior and Lord. In His Name. Amen.
“People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)
The contrast between how much of humanity thinks, and Jesus thinks, is clearly shown in this incident. The disciples are not concerned about the children. The children are simply a distraction — in the way. Jesus, however, sees them as true seekers of God’s love, who actually know the way of trust. They come to Jesus for only one reason, His love. They want to be close to Him and be touched by Him. Children are very trusting as they start life. That trust is what Jesus reveals as needed in a relationship with God, no matter the age. Jesus draws all persons to Himself for a trusting relationship.
There are hopefully a few people we can really trust on our journey through life. We may be able to share our every secret — who we really are behind the masks we might wear. There is one we can truly trust. His name is Jesus. He will take everything we share with Him and love us still. He will not put any expectations on our life that will pull us down. He will only help us realize all our potential. He will be with us with His unconditional love always because He came into the world not to condemn it but to save it. We are the chief part of His saving.
Heavenly Father, help us trust You like the little children. Help us to place our life in Your hands. Help us receive the love You have for us in Jesus. Help us develop a trusting relationship with Your Son, so that we might know You better. Thank You for Your unconditional love that is always with us, loving us no matter what, and helping us live meaningful lives to Your glory.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.