10/30/16 Giving Up All

READING: Luke 17-18

Salvation is costly.  It cost Jesus His life, and it requires us to give up ours. 

That’s a hard message to comprehend, and it’s probably even harder to preach — which may be why we so seldom hear this mandate. We often talk about the benefits of eternal life, but we don’t often bring up the costs. Jesus did, though.  

A rich ruler came to Jesus, asking him what he must do to get eternal life. The man had been faithful to keep many of the Ten Commandments, but he had not kept them all. In fact, it seems that he had broken the first one (“You shall have no other gods before me”), for Jesus required him to “sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). This was a tough call for the ruler, who was very wealthy. Indeed, he was deeply saddened by Jesus’ commands and apparently walked away with his stuff, but with no eternal life. 

The point of this story is not that all of us are to sell all we have to gain life. Jesus required this step of this one person because his possessions were his god, and he could not follow Jesus and money at the same time (cf. Luke 16:13). None of us can serve two masters at one time — and Jesus will not take second place to anything or anyone. Our gods must go if we intend to follow the one and only true God.  

In fact, Jesus used a dramatic picture to show the depth of commitment He demands from us if we seek eternal life: “No one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life” (Luke 18:29-30). This text, of course, is not a call for us to neglect familial relationships. It’s a recognition that we are to love God supremely — more than we love anyone or anything — and we are to allow nothing to trump our commitment to Him. Sometimes that call does require us to move away from family, as missionaries and pastors do. It might be that that call demands us to choose not to marry, like the adult whose commitment to Christ includes intentional singleness. It might even mean that older adults in retirement move from their children and grandchildren to take the gospel to unreached people. Whatever the calling, we do know that God will reward that kind of uncompromised commitment to Him. 

All of these illustrations are just that, however: illustrations of what God might demand from us. The point is that we can have only one God, and we must follow Him fully.  


  • Answer this question: “Based on my life today, who or what are truly my gods?” Decide to turn from gods that get in the way of your serving God.              
  • It might be that you’re one of the persons that God is calling literally to move from family for the sake of the gospel — to be a missionary somewhere in the world. If so, talk to a church leader today. Take the first steps toward obedience. 

PRAYER: Father, I don’t want anything to get in the way of my serving You. Grant me grace to give up my false gods, including my stuff and my security.”  







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