In the second half of this chapter, two different sets of people come to Jesus. First, the people bring children to Jesus so that he can bless them – a common practice of the time. Next a wealthy man comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to get eternal life.
Look at the disciples’ reactions to these two incidents. They can hardly believe that Jesus welcomes the children, and they can hardly believe that he does not welcome the rich man. Even after all of this time, they are still learning what the kingdom of heaven is truly like.
We read earlier in Matthew’s Gospel how Jesus told the people to become like little children, something that would have required a great deal of humility in a culture where children were held in low regard. Now he repeats the message, stressing that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who can be childlike in their faith. On the other hand, the wealthy man places such great store in his possessions and treasures that he cannot leave them behind, even to gain access to the kingdom of heaven. How sad for this man.
If we are honest, we may find that we have things in our lives that we would be loathe to give up, even with the kingdom of heaven as our reward. It is easy to say or think that we would walk away from these things but, if it came to the crunch, would we really? God is not vindictive. He does not ask us to sacrifice for the sake of it but, just as he did with Abraham and Isaac, he needs to know that he takes first place in our heart, above all other people and things.
Are there things in your life that would be barriers to responding to the call of God on your life? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them to you today and to teach you how to hold them loosely.