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The last and first...seeing value in worth

I'm reading through the New Testament in a Year and would love to have you come along.
This week read Matthew 18 - 21.   On Tuesday I read Matthew 19, and here's what I wrote:

It’s Tuesday and today in our reading through the New Testament we come to Matthew 19:16-30. Read the passage first and then come back and let’s think through what is happening and how it relates to us.
Does it strike you that Jesus is not seeking popularity or approval from people? Whether talking to his disciples, the down and out, or the rich and popular, Jesus keeps the focus on the one key thing - Life in the Kingdom of God.
We need to realize that this story is descriptive, not prescriptive. What I mean is that it describes Jesus’ interaction with this young rich man. It is the only time in the Gospels that Jesus tells someone to sell all they have and follow him. It is not a prescriptive conversation in which Jesus outlines a mandate for all who want to follow him. He is not saying that in order to follow him we need to sell all our possessions. He did say it to this rich young ruler. It’s a good rule in understanding difficult passages - namely, is what that is occurring, or being said - by Jesus, or an Apostle - descriptive or prescriptive?
Jesus “saw” into this young rich ruler’s heart. While outwardly religious, inside his heart was pride...pride in his religious behavior, and pride in his assumption that God favored him because he was rich. It was a typical belief then, and it is often a typical belief today. People who are rich are favored by God, the poor are not. Jesus makes it clear that this assumption of wealth as an indicator of God’s favor is flawed.
Now...descriptive in the narrative, the teaching point is still there. Wealth is not the barrier, but pride is. Can I give up that which is a barrier to life with Christ to be His disciple? The invitation of vs 21 stands: “Come follow me”.
For Peter, and presumably the other disciples, that is exactly what they have done. Peter left his fishing business to follow Jesus, and the others left their vocations to do the same. “What about us”, Peter asked. Jesus’ answer implies that there’s a future reward but not an immediate one.
So what do we make of this? Trying to get God’s favor in assumptions of religious behavior or wealth is flawed. When we give up our lives to serve, we don’t do it in order to “get”, but to serve Christ. Serve him, and in serving him, we serve others too. There are many who do so who go unnoticed by others, but not by God...he knows.
One of my Spiritual heroes, Jim Eliot said, “He is no fool who gives up that which they cannot keep to gain that which they cannot lose.”
Peace

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