Our pastor has been teaching the parables of Jesus for several weeks now at church on Wednesday nights. I began to think about the parable of the ruler who asked Jesus in Luke 18:18-24, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus reminds him in verse 20 of the commandments. The ruler tells Jesus in verse 21 that he has kept the commandments from his youth. The next part is the part I really became interested in. Jesus tells the ruler in verse 22, “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.” The ruler, who was very rich, went away in sorrow, not willing to give up what he had to obtain eternal security with Jesus Christ. He was not willing to give up what he could not possibly keep for something far greater that he could not possibly lose. The rich ruler loved his riches and what he owned more than he loved Jesus. He walked away from the One, the only One, who could and would give him eternal life.
This parable reminded me of a quote that I heard once that said, “God may not require you to give up anything in this life, but there should not be anything that you would not be willing to give up for Him.” I believe that this parable and this quote has everything to do with what is in our hearts. I believe that as a Christian we can get to a point in our lives that we know within ourselves, within our hearts, that everything that we have, everything that has been given to us, every single thing that we own, people that we love, everything….belongs to God and not to us. I believe that we as Christians can get to that point of being willing in our heart and soul to give up everything for Jesus Christ.
There is an old hymn called “I Gave My Life for Thee”. The lyrics of the song talk of the precious blood of Jesus that He shed for us and the suffering that He experienced was “more than tongue can tell”. The last words of the hymn are “What hast thou given for Me”? I thought about it. What have I given up for Jesus? There was a couple of things that came to my mind when I asked myself that question. But, I felt that the Holy Spirit brought something to my memory that happened several years ago. I remembered kneeling down at the altar for the first time to pray for my son, Travis. I prayed that God would intervene in his life. His drug addiction was completely out of control and I had gone to God for help. I desperately and passionately wanted help for him. I told God that I wanted all things to be in His perfect Holy will and I asked if there was any way for Travis to be spared from this chaos of drug addiction. I was desperately wanting Travis free from the spiraling funnel, created by the enemy, that had Travis spinning in turmoil. I asked God if allowing Travis to live and be happy in this life “could” be in His perfect will to let nothing come in between God and God’s will for him. I asked that no matter what had to happen that Travis would be delivered, no matter what God had to do.
Still kneeling at the altar, I began to think about that statement; “No matter what God had to do.” That really is a very powerful statement and quite a bit frightening. If you say that statement and mean it from every fiber of your being, as I did, what can happen could be absolutely anything. God does answer our prayers. I immediately thought of my own death, thinking that God may take my life in order to save my son’s life. And then I thought, God took His Son’s life in order to save my life. I knew that my salvation was secure. I knew that Jesus Christ had paid the price of death on that cross that I might have eternal life with Him, my Savior. I knew that when my death comes, that I will be with Christ eternally. I also knew that I could trust God completely, and I knew that He loves me and my son more than anyone else loves us, and that He would do what was best for us. And then, I said, “Yes, Lord, no matter what You have to do, even if it means that you may take my life.”
I haven’t really thought about that statement that I made to God for quite some time. But I feel that God revealed something to me when the parable of the rich ruler brought it to my mind. I believe as I knelt there at that altar, that it was God who put the thought into my mind that He may require my life in order to save the life of my son. And really, He did require my life….not in death, but in life. He wanted me to completely give Him my life in service to Him. I didn’t know at the time that God would use me to start Healing Reign Ministry, a ministry who’s function is to help addicts and alcoholics find the road to recovery from their addictions through Jesus Christ. I have often thought that this would be my life until I was no longer able to serve Christ in this ministry. Helping those in addiction is where my heart is and what is almost constantly on my mind. I have asked God to allow me to make a difference in my lifetime that will make a difference in the Kingdom of Christ. He asked me for my life….I willingly give it to Him, in the name of Jesus.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in
the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.