Don’t Inherit the Wind, Inherit The Relationship

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Or…Looking for Value in All the Wrong Places

 

“There was a ruler who asked Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit the life of the age to come?”

“…for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to safely guard all that I have given him until the day of his return.”  The Apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 1:12

As I read the Scriptures, I have come to the understanding that whenever Jesus talks about money in terms of riches he resets the scale, the metric, by giving ultimate gravity to a Relationship with the Father. And so the reset is offered in the Gospel account of the rich ruler (Luke 18).

“Life of the age to come” is a relationship with the Father.  And all that the Father is is made available to the one who inherits it. Such an inheritance could only be acquired through a transaction made possible because of Jesus’ own relationship with the Father. Legal decisions on the part of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit would be required for such an inheritance.

“Life of the age to come” would perhaps be something perceived by the ruler as a means to continue his power and wealth generation without interference.

When asked by the rich young ruler “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit the life of the age to come?” Jesus first responds by connecting the dots about who he is – the legal authority and means to an inheritance and its Trustee.  Then Jesus reminds the rich man of the gold standard used by his servants in his earthly Kingdom: The Ten Commandments.  The gold standard of his Kingdom is that which orders right relationships – relationships between God and man and between man and his neighbor.

“Why call me ‘good’?” said Jesus to him. “No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments:  don’t commit adultery; don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t swear falsely; honor your father and mother.”

The ruler responds, “I’ve kept them all,” he said, since I was a boy.”

Thus, the man appears to imply that his accounts are up to date, his credit line is perfect. And like any successful businessman and devout Jew he may have wondered if inheriting “the life of the age to come” would be the return on his moral investment.

It occurred to me that material wealth was often perceived as a “sign” of God’s blessing in those days and as far back as the days of Job. What an inheritance “of life in the age to come” may have meant to the ruler:  a means to further his accumulation of wealth and possessions and influence…. God’s blessing…forever?

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