Money, Eternity, and Childlike Faith; Luke 18:17

childrenThis week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 18:17. In this verse, and the one that follows it (Luke 18:17 – 25), Jesus is giving clues about how to receive the Kingdom of God, and how money can be an obstacle.

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

In the couple of verses that precede this one; Luke 18:15-16, we see a beautiful description of Jesus calling the children to him. Jesus places his hands on them, probably as he is praying for their lives. And it seems as if he is just truly enjoying their company, specifically focused on them and not the entire crowd, as is often the case. Jesus went out of his way, even to the disappointment of the apostles, to call the children to him.

Did Jesus say this because the children were from good families, who had high social standing and wealth? Some people believe these are signs of God’s blessing and approval. However, children and women in that day in age, had little to no possessions or legal authority, to impress Jesus with. A Rich Ruler wondered about these things, as reported in Luke 18:18-25. He observed what Jesus did with the children, and what he said about them. I believe this poked his conscience. The man took stock of his own perfect performance in living a sinless life in verse 19, and voiced it. He wondered, comparing his life to that of child, what could he possibly do now, to gain eternal life? He’d done it all; perfect behavior, good career, wealth, and lots of responsibilities, but what must he do now to be like the child sitting before him in Jesus’ lap?

The children on the other hand clung to Jesus, and were not holding on to the their parents or toys; just enamored to be in his presence. Jesus tells the Rich Ruler, in Luke 18:22 that he should get rid of it all and cling to him, like the children were doing. That is the picture of the Christian life. We can’t cling to two masters (Matthew 6:24), as we walk through life with Jesus. We need both hands, to hold on. Without both hands holding on to his robe, we will slip and fall. If our other hand is holding on to money, possessions, success, power or position it will weigh us down, and we can’t hold on. Or the other master, will eventually walk a different path, and we will have to make a decision, and let go of one.

You can’t take anything with you to heaven. Job says we will enter heaven as we entered life, like children (Job 1:21). All of the things we worry about; your car {many of you will say good riddance}, house, wardrobe, timeshare in Cancun, and your career will be left behind and destroyed (2 Peter 3:10). Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19-21, to invest in treasures that will be around for eternity; Jesus and people, especially young ones.

In summary: envision the picture of Jesus; him with children, and nothing else. We can carry around this picture in our hearts as we walk about throughout or days. Letting go, following him, clinging with both hands. Putting all of our stock in him. Going ‘all-in,’ moving all of our chips to Jesus. It’s a better life, one of freedom and peace.

*A chronological examination of any verse that involves money and stewardship, attempting to see the new light that Jesus shines on money in His ‘for-us’ but selfless, grace filled, Holy Spirit empowered, and Kingdom oriented positions. This is the fifty-fourth post in this series.

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