Fred Meijer was one of the wealthiest men in the world. His Meijer stores were the first to combine food and general merchandise under one roof. When he died his fortune put him in select company. But he wore his wealth lightly, often dropping by his shops and revealing a kind heart as he greeted customers, passed out coupons for free ice cream and even bagged shopping.
His generous spirit made the news from his funeral that much harder to take. Fred’s Christian friends had long worried that he didn’t know Jesus, but the preacher at his funeral pretended that that didn’t matter. “How do you inherit eternal life?” the pastor asked the mourners: “By being a good neighbor, like Fred was.”
I pray that Fred believed more than this, for that is a tragically wrong answer.
A young ruler once asked Jesus the same question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” When the man affirmed that he had kept many of the Ten Commandments—things that could lead him to also be a good neighbor, Jesus replied that he hadn’t done enough. “Go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor . . . . Then come, follow Me.” But the man concluded that the price was too high, “and he went away sad” (Mark 10:17-22).
The man was not necessarily being materialistic. But Jesus knew his heart. He had to choose between treasure on earth and treasure in heaven. Because the man’s wealth was an obstacle to his faith, Jesus said it was “impossible” for him to be saved (Luke 18:24-27).
How do you inherit eternal life? Put the whole world—family, friends, money and sex—on one side, and nothing but Jesus on the other. Which do you choose?
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 16:16-40
Read Matthew 16:24-28 to discover the ultimate questions that all people must answer (Matthew 16:26).
Who or what do you value more than Jesus? Why does this not only threaten your salvation but also prevent you from properly loving those things?