Some people are under the illusion that only a certain number of people will be allowed into the Kingdom of God, but my understanding is that this is not so. However today i want to focus on one that that will help you get there, because no one can do the work needed for someone else; as in one person cannot keep the commandments on behalf on someone else. We are all promised eternal life but to obtain exaltation we must do more.
In Luke 18 we are told about the conversation Jesus had with a certain rich man and it goes something like this –
‘A certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall i do to inherit eternal life?
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is God.
Thou knowest the commandments, Do you commit adultery, Do you kill, Do you steal, Do you bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
And he said, All these have i kept from my youth up.
Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was a very rich.’
There is two important points to consider when reading this passage of scripture and these are; it is not about how rich or poor someone is, but how what one does with those riches that counts. Jesus tells the the rich man to sell his riches and give to the poor not so that he could then go around saying Look what i have done! No, what he actually says to the rich man is, Come, Follow me.
There are two types of poor in the world; relative where you have less than meets the average person in your society and absolute when you have nothing and may even lack that which sustains life. Most people in the Western world have enough for their needs and then some to share, but i have found that those that have little to spare are more likely to share what they have with those that have not than those that anyone would consider ‘rich’.
There was a time in my own life not too far back when i had to rely on the charity of others for my daily bread, it can be a very humbling experience if you allow it to be, but we do need to say that we need help. Now although i have little if anything to spare i am conscious that i now have enough for needs. To often we can become like the rich man and fix our eyes and our hearts on the prizes of this world, but even the mummified Egyptians will have found that they could not take their worldly riches with them into eternal life.
I have a friend called Heron, i give him a hard time whenever i can but really he’s a good man. Yet there was a time when he told me he had 40 white shirts for work. My obvious reply was Why? Can you not give some of them away? He muttered something about some of them being old and thread bare and not much good. But not all of them? I understand that he needed a number of white shirts for work, but… After i explained to him that his old shirt could in fact becomes someone else’s prize procession i believe he did indeed give some of them away.
We all have ‘things’, ‘stuff’ that we no longer need or want and yet we keep hold of them ‘just in case’ or has he’s known around here as ‘Justin’ but when our hearts are set upon the things of this world more than things of God we can lose focus on what is of real and true value. What could you do today, tomorrow or soon to give away that which could become someone else’s prize procession?