BEYOND THE GOOD LIFE
Today’s Bible Reading: Matthew 19:16–30
When was the last time you bought a box of Kleenex®? Perhaps some Advil® for your headache? Or maybe a package of Popsicles® to satisfy your kids’ desire for sweets? Of course, because you’re a guy and most of us like to save a few bucks, you probably bought a box of generic facial tissues, an industrial-sized bottle labeled “ibuprofen non-aspirin pain reliever” and some grocery store brand of frozen confectionary treats.
While it thrills the makers of Kleenex, Advil and Popsicles that you remember the names of their trademarked brands, they’re less than thrilled when you buy an alternative product. They spend millions on advertising to build their brands to a high-level of name recognition, but then the trademarked name loses its distinction and ends up standing for all similar products.
Just as brand names lose their meaning, so do words we use every day. That was the case with the rich young man who asked Jesus about what “good thing” he could do to gain eternal life. Jesus even questioned why the young man used the word good.
Then the Lord delivered the laundry list. In essence, Jesus said that the only thing good enough to earn eternal life involves living a perfect, obedient and selfless life—something that no man can do.
However, we often overlook the two simple words that followed Jesus’ impossible-to-attain list. Apparently the rich young man did too—or maybe he consciously realized they represented an invitation he couldn’t accept. Those words: “Follow me” (verse 21).
Jesus’ message remains the same today. His simple, two-word directive is filled with deep and complex meaning. With those words he calls us to go with him on his mission, to accompany him on the journey through life. We can’t really accomplish any “good” on our own. We can only answer yes when Jesus says “Follow me.”
To Take Away
- If we have no hope of living perfect, obedient and selfless lives, why should we bother to try?
- How would you respond to someone who asked, “What does it mean to follow Jesus?”
- What holds you back in your struggle to follow Jesus? What steps can you take to become a more devoted follower?
Copyright © 2006 by Zondervan.