Captured by, Enthralled with, Living Proof of
Day: 24 | Plan: Luke
Today’s Reading: Luke 18
Luke 18:22 (NIV) “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”
Rules and regulations.
They were a daily reality for God’s people in the Old Testament. Lists of dos and don’ts to help sinful man maintain fellowship with a holy God. First the Ten Commandments. Then law after law about sacrifices and ceremonies, food and cleanliness.
But in the New Testament Jesus shows up on the scene and turns everything upside down with His message of grace. A message that declares, “Following rules won’t get you into heaven. Being good won’t earn you bonus points. Lay down your checklists … your agendas … everything … and follow Me. Believe in Me. Receive Me.”
It was a complete shift in thinking. One that left people perplexed, like the rich ruler in Luke 18.
We first meet the rich ruler when he approaches Jesus with a question: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18)
Jesus, already knowing his checklist mindset, begins naming the Ten Commandments: “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother” (Luke 18:20b).
It’s a list the rich ruler feels he has kept well. But Jesus has more to say: “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Luke 18:22).
It would be so easy to gloss over this moment and think Jesus is simply talking about money. We could be tempted to label this a story for “those” people—the ones we think have more money than they know what to do with. But the words in this conversation are for every single one of us. Because the core issue Jesus is getting at is this: What holds the key to your heart?
Oh, how I want my answer to be “Jesus.” I want to want Him most. To live completely captured by His love. Enthralled with His teachings. Living proof of His truth.
There have been others who have gone before me who desired this as well. Imperfect heroes of faith we read about in the Bible who, despite their shortcomings, pleased God. And it wasn’t perfect actions that carved a path to God’s heart. It was something else. Something less defined that can’t be outlined and dissected. Something that was sometimes messy and offensive. But something that was so precious at the same time it caused God to pause.
It’s a word used to describe a little girl leaping from the bed’s edge completely confident that her daddy will catch her. It’s the same thing that fueled David’s courageous run toward Goliath with nothing but a sling and five smooth stones. It’s what fueled Joshua. And Moses. And Noah. And Paul.
And it’s the one thing Jesus is asking of the rich ruler. Not for a life lived perfectly but a heart of perfect surrender.
“Everything I have. Everything I own. Everything I hope for. Everything I fear. Everything I love. Everything I dream. It’s all Yours, Jesus. I trust You in complete and utter abandon.”
Sadly, it’s also the one thing this man felt he could not offer. He stood on the edge of everything uncertain with the arms of all certainty waiting to catch him. And he just couldn’t jump; he lived his life entangled in lesser things.
He was not captured by, enthralled with or living proof of the reality of Jesus. And so he walked away from the only One who could ever truly satisfy his soul.
Oh, friends. Let’s not allow this to be the tragedy of our lives. Let’s be found captured by Jesus’ love, enthralled with His teachings and living proof of His truth. Let’s be found living with abandon.
Because the life that follows Jesus with abandon is the life that gets to experience His presence, His provision, His promises, His soul-satisfying abundance.
Prayer: Father God, please forgive me for all of the times I have settled for lesser things. Forgive me for being more enamored with people and the things of this world than You. I want to want You most. Today, I am handing You the key to my heart. The key to everything in my life. Thank You for inviting me to follow You. Thank You for offering me both eternal life in heaven and abundant life here on earth. I love You. I need You. And I want to follow hard after You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The Gospel of Luke is filled with many stories of reversal.
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