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CrossPointe Community Church
P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215


Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good.

“good teacher” . . . rabbis were not addressed in this way and the Jews considered only God and His law to be good. 1 Thus Jesus answers, “only God is good.”

But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’”
The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”

Luke 18:18-33

“treasure in heaven” . . . this is the second time Jesus employs the phrase ‘treasure in heaven.’ Matthew also records Him using it:

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.

Few Biblical figures are as tragic as this rich man as he walks away from Jesus’ invitation.

When Jesus saw this, He said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, 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!”
Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?”
He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.”
“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”

“eternal life in the world to come” . . . “The inference here seems to suggest the ruler had lost tremendous blessings in this life and in the world to come, he would lose his soul.” 2

Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus said, “Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true. He will be handed over to the Romans, and He will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. They will flog Him with a whip and kill Him, but on the third day He will rise again.”

Matthew 6:19-21


Impossible Possibilities

Randy K’Meyer

Years ago, a prospector who had made a fortune in the gold rush, came upon an abandoned gold mine. With a lantern and a pick, he began to search the mine for one last vein, hoping that he might discover that which others might have overlooked. Years after that, a party of engineers explored that abandoned mine to ascertain whether it was worth reopening. In the deepest shaft, they came across a little pile of rock and beside it a rusted pick. Farther along, lay a battered lantern, and still farther a human skeleton. It’s bony hand clutching a gold nugget. The prospector had found his treasure but lost his way and his life. 3

And then there is this rich ruler whom Jesus put on the horns of a dilemma. He was hoping to discover the way, not to more riches, but to eternal life. But he wasn’t willing or able to make the kind of decision that would get him there. No wonder the text says, “He became very sad” (Luke 18:23).

So what are we to make of the seemingly impossible request of Jesus to this rich man? To answer that question, I offer these six points.

First, I want to note that this wasn’t the first time Jesus had challenged a potential disciple to leave wealth behind in order to more perfectly follow Him.

Two weeks ago, we focused on the ending of John’s gospel where Jesus asks Peter to leave behind his boats and nets to follow Him. There was the time He asked Matthew to leave his very lucrative tax-collecting job behind in order to become a follower of Jesus. To their credit, both Peter and Matthew did just that. They left behind an old way of life for a new way of life. And in doing so they discovered to their great delight real meaning and purpose in life.

But alas, although many hear the invitation to do likewise, not all make the decision to do so; i.e., this rich ruler.

Second, it is worth noting that this story represents one of eighteen times in his gospel that Luke discusses wealth and using it generously as a basis for a call to faithfulness in the Lord Jesus. More pointedly, this particular story is challenging us to think about how our riches might be getting in the way of putting Jesus first in our lives.

Is Jesus calling us to sell all we have, give the money away and follow Him? No, but He is calling us to put Him first in all aspects of our lives and that includes, in this case, our money and possessions.

Three, salvation does not come through an empty bank account. As Paul reminded us in our Call to Worship:

But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:4-5

This story is asking us to think about where our trust resides. Does it center on our possessions and the security they give? Or does it center in God?

Ivor Powell says, “This was a test to ascertain whether or not he (the rich ruler) would permit the Lord to occupy the throne of his affections.” 4

In other words, Jesus wants to know if this man is willing to put him first, the very subject we have explored the previous two Sundays. Do we really love Jesus more than anything? And in this case, does this rich man, and by application, do we love Jesus more than worldly wealth?

Or as the Biblical scholar, Dr. Darrell Bock, asks in his commentary on this story, “Do we recognize that everything we have is part of the stewardship God gives us and that it is, therefore, not ours to own?” 5

So although this text is not about how to earn one’s salvation, it does strongly encourage us to carefully consider how to use the resources God gives us.

Four, from the text itself: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! (Luke 18:24). “In fact, 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!” (Luke 18:24-25).

What’s up with that? It is well-known that beside at least one, maybe more of the twelve gates built into the wall that surrounded Jerusalem, there was another much-smaller gate, known as the ‘eye of the needle.’ The larger gates were open during the business day so that camels with large loads could make their way into the city. But at night the larger gate was closed and people used the smaller gate to either enter or leave the city. And it was said that occasionally, a persistent salesman trying to get in after the main gate was closed for the day, would force his camel to its knees and duck its head under in order to gain entrance. So although it was very difficult, almost impossible, it was possible for a camel could get through. 6

Following Christ is the wisest choice a human being can make. But as Ringo Starr said, “it don’t come easy.”

I have a little book titled Stewardship Illustrations that relates the following:

During WW II I served in the US Navy. Fortunately or unfortunately, most of my service was in San Diego so that my firsthand experiences of the war were not noteworthy; however, my job was such that I was privileged to hear many of the firsthand experiences of the sailors. One of their stories intrigued me and has stuck in my memory ever since.

It was a simple story of how the natives trap monkeys on the particular island that this sailor found himself during the war. He told me that the natives would take earthen jars, with long narrow necks, and secure them to the trees that were the habitat of the monkeys. Then they would fill these jars with grain. At night the monkeys came down and reached into the jars to get the grain; but when they tried to take their hands out of the jars, they found it was impossible because they had a fistful of grain that they couldn’t bring themselves to let go of. All they had to do to be free was drop the grain, but they couldn’t let go. They lost their liberty rather than turn loose their fistful of grain. 7

What can we do to let go? We can, no, we must make a decision.

First, are we going to put Jesus first in our lives as it concerns our money and possessions? In other words, are we willing to say, “Jesus, what would you have me do in this regard?”

Paul reminds us in his second letter to the Corinthians, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give” (II Corinthians 9:7). And then he indicates that this will enable us to give cheerfully.

For as a practical application of this as I can offer, I highly recommend a 10-10-80 Plan. A 10-10-80 plan is one in which we decide to put God first, by honoring the Biblical tithe, that is, we decide to give 10% (tithe) of our income to the Lord’s Kingdom through His Church. We then commit the second 10% if your income to our own interest-bearing savings account. Yes, saving for the future is encouraged by the Bible. And then we are free to live, that is, to take care of our remaining financial obligations (our food, housing, transportation, etc.) with the remaining 80% of our income.

This is a plan that will not only honor God but will also will serve us well.

Some of you are thinking I’d like to do that; however; at this point, I just am not able. Right now, I am living paycheck to paycheck. My counsel then would be to, if you haven’t, make a spending plan or budget to see where it’s going and if there is any way you can make some sacrifices to free up some funds to be reallocated for the 10-10 part of the plan. You may also find that although you wish you could do the 10-10-80 plan, you might well have to start with a 5-5-90 or a 2-2-96 or whatever works best for you.

I know people who stared out is that way and then over time, they moved to a 10-10-80 plan. I know people who have even moved to a 20-20-60 type plan.

Again, I quote Paul, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (II Corinthians 9:7).

You see, what Jesus knew but the rich ruler didn’t even stay around long enough to find out was that following the Bible’s directives on the use of our money can have a tremendously freeing impact on us.

That’s what adopting a 10-10-80 or similar plan can do for us. For adopting a plan like this enables us to put God first, and also to enjoy an extra added measure of peace as a result of planning for our financial future.

It can be hard, but “What is impossible for people is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). It is possible with God when, rather than turning away from the Lord because we don’t want to part with our wealth, we consider God’s call upon lives. “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Matthew 16:25-26).

A certain woman, who had been allotted a place in a lifeboat on the ill-fated Titanic, asked if she could return to her stateroom for something important. Since her stateroom was on an upper deck, the purser gave her 5 minutes. As she passed the ballroom, she noticed people on their hands and knees picking up valuables off the floor. As she entered her room, she noticed her valuables waiting to be picked up, but instead of grabbing her money and jewels, she grabbed 3 oranges that she knew would be more valuable and headed back to the lifeboat. That woman survived and later reflected that it would have been impossible for her to choose three oranges over a handful of jewels, except for one thing. Death boarded the Titanic, and one blast of its awful breath quickly enabled her to see what was most valuable. 8

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
Is anything worth more than your soul?

Matthew 16:25-26

1 Ivor Powell, Luke’s Thrilling Gospel, [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, © 1965], Page 383.

2 Ibid., page 386.

3 Stewardship Illustrations, Edited by T. K. Thompson, [Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.,© 1965]. Page 73.

4 Powell, page 388.

5 Darrell Bock, The NIV Application Commentary, Luke, [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, © 1996], Page 384.

6 Powell, page 389.

7 Stewardship Illustrations, pages 73-74.

8 Ibid, page 80.