Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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September 7 – What God Does For Us

“‘Again I tell you, 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.’  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’  But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’  Then Peter said in reply, ‘See, we have left everything and followed You. What then will we have?’  Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for My Name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.'”  Matt. 19:24-30

Devotional Thought For The Day

There are many warnings in God’s Word against the dangers of wealth.  Equally treacherous is the desire for and the pursuit of wealth – and it is also true that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for human beings to pursue wealth in a righteous and spiritually safe way [see 1 Tim. 6:9].  This conflicts with our common sense and cultural values – which are based in selfishness, lovelessness, and the darkness of sin.  It also conflicts with our notions of the general “goodness” of human nature, and our self-justifying optimism in our own abilities to “do good” even when pursuing wealth.  Peter understood Christ’s wisdom as applying to all people – “Who then can be saved?”  The answer is clear, stark, and chilling: “With man this is impossible.”  But thank God that Jesus went on:  “But with God all things are possible.”  Through His gracious forgiveness, mercy, and love, even greedy and sinful human beings can be brought to repentance, faith in Christ, eternal life, and renewal of spirit.

That this innate spiritual darkness inheres in all is seen in Peter’s next question, in regard to those who have “left everything and followed You.” Even Peter remained concerned for himself:  “What then will we have?”  How rare it is that anyone ever does anything without some regard as to how it will benefit and profit him!  Jesus’ concession to this has only to do with “the new world” [the “regeneration”], and He assures Peter that all will be restored “a hundredfold” – in addition to the reality that we will also have “eternal life.”  It is as if He were saying, “In view of this eternal blessedness, who really would be concerned about the cost of leaving everything behind and following Me?”  But of course we are – and thanks be to God that even this sin and faithlessness is forgiven and cleansed away in the blood of Christ.

Peter exaggerated a little bit in claiming to have left “everything” behind in following Jesus.  Certainly they had given up much, more than most of us, but they still had clothing, food, and a communal treasury for their little band of disciples. What he meant was that they had “given up” the pursuit of wealth [everything], that their lives were no longer about competition for accumulating riches, and its accompanying power, pleasures, privileges, prerogatives, pride, and prestige. This too is what Jesus calls all of us to do – to follow Him, to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, to make Him and His kingdom our greatest pleasure and good, and to leave off concern [and anxiety] for these other things.  He wills for us to experience the peace and joy of this freedom from “riches” and even from “the desire to be rich.”  We still struggle – as Peter did – to actualize this.  We also recognize that “with man this is impossible,” but knowing that “with God all things are possible” we pray that He might also grant this blessing to us.

Again, we rejoice that God’s gracious mercy and forgiveness covers the multitude of our sins, including this inherent idolatry toward wealth and possessions. We certainly rejoice in the miracle of God in doing what we cannot do – bringing us to faith in Christ and eternal salvation by His grace, and delivering us also from this spiritual slavery to greed and selfishness.  We rejoice too in His promise and guarantee that our investments in His kingdom will bring dividends.  Where else can we find investment opportunities which guarantee such great and assured blessings that endure forever?  So Jesus weans us away from being first here but last in the “new world,” and assures us that there will be a different measurement in the blessed joys of the coming new age.

Scripture Cited

1 Tim. 6:9  “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, our blessed Savior and Master, thank You for the blessings of Your gracious love, forgiveness, mercy, and salvation, and for doing for us what is impossible for us to accomplish.  Bless us with Your love that we may also leave all to follow You.  Grant us peace and joy in Your kingdom no matter what we may lose in this life.  Amen.