Matthew 19 contains several sayings of our Master that are challenging. There was one that made his disciples “greatly astonished”. It was the outcome of a conversation that started when “a man came up to him saying, ‘Teacher what good deed must I do to inherit eternal life?’” (verse 16). Jesus says, “If you would enter into life, keep the commandments”. He said to him, “Which ones?” and Jesus then lists the principal commandments, “You shall not … murder … commit adultery … shall not steal … bear false witness … will honour (your parents) … love your neighbour as yourself” (verses 17,19).

The man responds, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack? Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me’” (verses 20,21). “The young man went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

Jesus tells his disciples how difficult it is “for rich people to enter the kingdom of God”. The disciples “were greatly astonished saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’” (verse 25). We ponder our Lord’s reply, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”. This is because God looks to see the true condition of our hearts: what are our priorities in life, what we have left behind so as to “do (work) for my name’s sake … and (therefore) will inherit eternal life” (verse 29).

We must each ask ourselves, what am I doing in the service of Jesus? Am I just giving him my spare time? How has being called to his service changed the priorities in my life? How do I use my Holy-days? Only those who have their priorities right “can be saved” – but they will not earn salvation; Paul made a vital point in writing to the Corinthians, “we (are) working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1). Do you appreciate his grace? Are you “working together” with your Saviour?