Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 19:16-30
Here was a rich young man: good looking, upright, and a model citizen. He was a successful person in his community. He was not, however, a man of this world. He was not that type of person who used all kinds of strategies and tactics to win his popularity and secure his success in this world.
He was a religious man. He had kept all the religious commandments: “You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and mother; also you shall love your neighbors as yourself.” However, he was not a religious fanatic or dogmatic freak. He was an earnest seeker.
He was not arrogant. He kept asking, “What do I still lack?” “What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” He always felt that he was not perfect. He felt that he needed to do something to have eternal life.
What was wrong with him?
He had done everything that he could and should do. That was the point. We cannot have eternal life by doing good things. When he focused on doing good deeds, he could not satisfy his spiritual thirst and hunger. The more good deeds he did, the greater his dissatisfaction became. To perfect his good deeds, he had to sell all he had and give the money to the poor but he could not do it. That was his dilemma.
What was the remedy? How to fix his (or our) problem?
Jesus gave us an answer: “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good.” Jesus is telling us to focus on Being and not on Doing!
So, the first step for us to have eternal life is to confess that we are not good. As long as we say that we are good we have not yet taken the first step. We are still rich! And it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God!
The second step is to accept that we are still accepted by God. God accepted us as God’s children while we were yet sinners. God accepts us not because we are righteous but because we need God’s Grace.
The last step is to respond to God’s Grace with Gratitude. Good deeds belong to this last step, not the first step to have an eternal life. At this step we can even sell all we have and give them to poor and still we do not boast ourselves as we will see in the Guatemala Mission team. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “For mortals it is impossible but for God all things are possible.”
So, my brothers and sisters let us accept that we are accepted! God will add unto us everything else.
- Who are you in relations with God?
- What do you want to do for the One who has accepted you as you are?