This morning, the proximity of two well-known Bible stories caught my eye. Two rich men who sought Jesus out. The first approaches with an apparently sincere inquiry of what it would take to get eternal life. But as it turns out, eternal life wasn’t high enough on his priority list to pay the price: exchanging it all for a life with Jesus. So he goes away sad.
Just a couple of paragraphs later, Zacchaeus was so determined to see Jesus that he made a spectacle of himself by climbing a tree to ensure a good view. He was also very wealthy, though his reputation wasn’t so sterling as the other man–a swindler and traitor. But he ends up joyfully giving away everything to the poor and those he has cheated. Furthermore, he obtained the very thing that the other man had claimed to seek as Jesus exclaimed, “Salvation has come to this home today!”
Score: Wealth + sadness VS. eternal life + joy + blessing. Who got the better deal?
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matthew 16: 24-26