Everyone wants to live a good life. However, do we all know what is good? The young Jewish ruler who approached Jesus with a question seemed to have everything people want in a good life: education, fame, money, and ultimately society’s approval, as well as the esteem of his peers. He was approaching Jesus perhaps because he had not actually experienced the satisfaction he expected to accompany his material success, so he asked Jesus for a way to gain eternal life, which, he believed, is the ultimate good life.
Jesus told him that what he did was not enough: “One thing you still lack!” And it is to forsake all material things as secondary and to put God as the first priority in his life, to follow Jesus. This was a hard decision for him to make, because he had too much to let go of.
We have often been bought into our generation’s thinking: Money, popularity, academic success, etc., symbolize the “good” things. We put effort into gaining all these things. However, Our Lord Jesus seems to be telling us that the “good” things lay elsewhere. And I suppose that this is the reason why the rich young ruler was not able to experience the satisfaction he thought should have come with his success. While Jesus did not condemn him for his pursuits, he kindly advised that his aim seemed to have been wrongly directed – the secondary good. Jesus is pointing us to following Him.
We often stop short of getting the best because we have been hanging on to the secondary. We have been successful in things that don’t matter for a good life. Only God can change us. Let us pray that God will grant us the wisdom to let go of the secondary to pursue the one thing that’s indispensable—to be accepted by God. This is the good life.
- What are some of the “good” things you have been doing?
- How do you feel about doing these “good” things?
- How is Jesus involved in these pursuits?
Written by Rev. Michael Wu. Artwork by Carol Li