Good Is Not Good Enough

“A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'” (Luke 18:18).
You’ve heard the story. A rich young ruler came to Jesus asking what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. This was admirable, but one fancies that the young man wanted Jesus’ praise and affirmation. He, from his youth, was very careful to avoid the bad sins. He was a good man.
On the other hand, perhaps there was something missing, and he was a sincere searcher for truth. Perhaps he knew deep down that riches were more important than eternal life. He certainly discovered this truth after Jesus told him he must sell everything and give to the poor and follow Him.
The young man went away deeply grieved. He knew that greed was his sin, and he valued its pleasures over the pleasure of serving God for the right reasons.Having been taught at a very young age the commandments of the Lord, it became second nature to obey them. We all want to reach a point when there’s no effort being good. The mature Christian does not pause and ask himself what to do; he spontaneously chooses the right actions or thoughts. But like this young man, we too may have a weak link. We all, as the Hebrew’ author states, have our besetting sin. We need to go to Jesus and ask, “Lord, what do I lack?”
We must never reach the point that we are satisfied with our goodness. There’s always room for improvement. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps 139:23-24).  Unlike this young man, we must not let anything get in our way to eternal life. He made his choice, and lost the greatest riches. We must believe this truth: our gains from the Lord will always outweigh anything we are asked to give up.
Hymn: “To Christ Be True”
Dear Father in heaven, help us to trust in You rather than in our own goodness. Help us to recognize that often our own goodness may hide a more serious flaw from our awareness. Pull away the facade of goodness and help us to see the sin that You see and humble ourselves in sincere obedience. In His precious name, Amen.
Rob Redden, Arroyo Grande, CA