Day 3: What Shall I Do?
"And when (Jesus) was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth." (Mark 10:17-20).
All of your life, you have been rewarded by performance. As a child, you were rewarded with good grades for studying hard. You were given an allowance for doing your chores faithfully. And as you grew, the tasks grew more challenging, and the rewards grew larger. Working hard at a job brought you a good salary, and perhaps a bonus or promotion. With your salary, you got the things many people dream of: a nice house in an affluent subdivision, a foreign sportscar, designer clothes, and a country club membership.
So why should religion be any different? Working hard at keeping the commandments or just being good should bring some kind of reward, right? This is what the rich young ruler thought. He comes running to Christ, "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? I have kept all the commandments since I was a boy!"
Oh really? Perhaps the young man really thought he had kept the commandments. Even so, he still needed more assurance and wondered if there was something extra he should do. You can't be too careful. I mean, how good is good enough, right?
But Jesus knew better, and to show the young man that it is impossible to earn eternal life with our own efforts, Jesus gave him another task, "Go, sell all you have and give it to the poor, and then take up the cross and follow me." Saddened, the young man turned and walked away to an unknown fate.
God does not save us because of any thing which we do. We are not saved by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Only an egotistical God could be bought with our tithes and impressed by our suffering. Only a cruel and heartless God would sell salvation to the highest bidders. But a great God does for His children what they cannot do for themselves.