I once knew of a young man who dreamed of becoming a pastor. His goal was to make a difference for the Kingdom of God and to reach out to those who were hungering for righteousness. He liked fancy sports cars, however. The day he received his acceptance into a seminary, he borrowed money to buy a sleek, expensive vehicle. His first day at the seminary was greeted with lots of “Wow”s, “Ahhh”s and “Unbelievable”s. Never had a seminary student ever had the luxury of driving with such style.
Besides taking classes, he found a night job working as a security guard at a nearby facility. Sad to say, most if not all of his money went to pay the upkeeping and financing of his dream car. He literally lived on bread (mostly stale) and water. He never finished his studies, and his friends at school never knew what happened to him. He allowed himself to become distracted by a side dream that overtook his life.
This sad but true story reminds me of the rich young ruler that came running to Jesus one day. He also dreamed big: he wanted to make sure he inherited eternal life! “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18 NIV)
Notice that he doesn’t address Jesus by using the word “Lord”. Instead he calls Him “Good Teacher.” You can say what you want about this guy, but he’s honest. He can’t call Jesus “Lord”, because he doesn’t intend to make Jesus the sole master of his life!
Kind of like a lot of believers, isn’t he?
Jesus Himself tells us: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matt 7:21-23 NIV)
One cannot be saved without making Jesus Master and Lord of one’s life!
Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler was likely what he expected to hear, for it was what any believer in those days knew as the norm (see Luke 18: 20). The young man was happy to admit: “‘All these I have kept since I was a boy,’ he said.” (Luke 18:21 NIV)
This was probably true enough, but why was he asking the question in the first place if he didn’t feel some sense of lack, some sense of dissatisfaction?
Then Jesus revealed to him the real condition of his heart: “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22 NIV)
This was an eye-opener to the young man, and sadness immediately overcame him: “When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.” (Luke 18:23 NIV). The real lord of his life wasn’t God, the Almighty, it was his “great wealth”. This kept him from savoring “real life” and would ultimately keep him from “eternal life”. “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Luke 18:24 NIV)
For the young seminary student mentioned at the beginning of this devotional, it was the car that would ultimately keep him from knowing the true Lord of his life, Jesus the Messiah. It could have been anything, however. Anything can lord over us. Anything can ravish our precious time with our Saviour. The demands of the lords of our lives can be all consuming. For some it is television. For others it is work. So many things can interfere in us making Jesus the real Lord of our life: books, sports, friends, pleasure, pornography, even church endeavors. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Who or what rules our time?
Is it truly Jesus who is our constant passion? Are we hungering to spend time with Him? Are we thirsty to obey His voice? Is there anything that keeps us from really knowing Him? Who is the true Lord ruling over our lives?
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Josh 24:15 NIV)
(To access the entire “My Lord and Master” devotional series, please click here.)