My favorite thing about Christmas parties is the gift exchange game. Whether it is White Elephant or Yankee Swap, I always look forward to working the gift exchange game to my benefit. I’ve learned through the years that in order to do well in these types of games, you either have to be extremely lucky or become an expert trader. In this passage, Jesus challenged a wealthy religious ruler to consider making a life-changing trade.
- What are some of the trades God has asked you to make for him? What is hard for you to give up in order to follow Jesus?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 18:18-30 (ESV)
18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What question did the ruler ask of Jesus? How did Jesus respond to his question?
- What was very important to the ruler? What do we learn about the kind of person the ruler was by his response to Jesus’ challenge?
- In verses 24-25, Jesus summed up his encounter with the ruler. What is the essence of Jesus’ teaching in these verses?
- How did Peter respond to Jesus’ teaching? What trade did Peter make to follow Jesus and what did Jesus promise in return to all who trade to follow Jesus? Is Jesus speaking literally or figuratively?
- In what ways do you need to trade what is important to you to better follow Jesus and serve him with your life? What would cause you to trust God with your most precious possessions, person(s), or hobbies to better follow him?
RESPOND TO GOD
This passage is about more than just the dangers of wealth. It also prompts us to evaluate our trust level before God with the things we value greatly. For some of us, money is not the most important thing, but our status, job, friendships, and/or comfort are. Jesus assured Peter and us that we never make a bad trade with our treasures when we choose to follow wholeheartedly after God.
- Be honest with God about the fears, emotions, and doubts you have about giving him control over all areas of your life.
- Surrender and confess the ways you lack faith in his ability to ensure your well-being and personal growth.
- Bask in the truth that he is your heavenly father who delights in giving great gifts to his children!