This week is my week to teach Sunday school to our 5th graders. I’m going to diverge very slightly from the curriculum. Our curriculum schedules me to teach two very different stories from Luke — the calling of Matthew Levi to be a disciple and the sending out of the seventy. The main theme of the curriculum is supposed to be New Testament Bible heros. So I’m going to focus on Matthew’s story. Matthew, being a tax collector, was wealthy. We are going to contrast his interaction with Christ with that of the wealthy young ruler. These are both rich men, but have very different attitudes about themselves and very different responses to Christ. Only one gains eternity. The stories can be found in Luke 5:27-32 and Luke 18:18-30.
Both men were called to follow Jesus. Matthew left everything and followed Him. Jesus didn’t have to tell him to leave everything. He just did. And he threw a party for Jesus! He immediately wanted to introduce his friends to Jesus. The rich young ruler, would not leave his worldly life to follow Christ and so he left depressed that his righteous works wouldn’t be enough to gain him eternal life.
In this country, there are few that aren’t rich. We might not be as rich as the guy down the street, our relatives, or our best friend. But we are rich by the world’s standards and so many of us are drowning in our wealth. Many Americans are so attached to their lifestyle that they are unable to follow Him. Many others are relying on their own righteousness to gain them eternity. We must humble ourselves before Him.
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
1 Peter 5:5-6
Which man are you more like? Do you know that you’re a sinner in need of His grace or are you trusting in your own righteousness?
What is He asking you to give up in order to follow Him wholeheartedly? What is it in your life that distracts from Him?