Red Letters

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”

“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.

LUKE 18:18-23

At some important level, the rich young ruler finds the pursuit of religious law and material things wholly unsatisfying. So unsatisfying, in fact, that he is asking Jesus how to inherit eternal life!  I propose that the rich young ruler doubted that he was on the right path.  He knows the extent of his devotion to God. And although he is very wealthy, his possessions still leave a void. He implores Jesus to share the secret of how to fill that hole.

There must be more to life than this.

I imagine Jesus and the young man standing at the rim of a great canyon…far to deep and wide to cross without a bridge. On the other side, true eternal life waits. “How do I cross?” asks the young man.

Jesus says, “Take these earthly things you value–your time, your status, your things, your bank account, your pride–and fill up the canyon. Then you can walk across them to the other side. Take anything you love more than me and toss it into the canyon.”

“But, then I won’t have my stuff anymore,” says the young man. “Some of it might get broken or lost.”

“Well, you asked,” Jesus replies. “The eternal life you seek starts by giving your earthly life away. When you give it away, you get your life.”

I am regularly asked by people who hear me speak or read my books, “What can I do to get involved with orphans? I want to do more for Children’s HopeChest!”

Without doubt or hesitation, if you want to get more involved, then I challenge and invite you to consider going on a mission trip. 

You cannot truly understand global poverty without immersing yourself in an international setting. I cannot tell you how it feels to see children begging on the street. Or watch kids sneak bits of food into their pockets to ensure they’ll eat later. Or pour water into an emptying soda bottle to prolong that joy by just a few more sips. I can tell you about girls who have been abused and boys addicted to sniffing glue. I can write books and blog posts for you that will take your imagination face-to-face with the fatherless.

But unless you choose to immerse yourself in their environment you cannot and will not truly know them.

A trip is a pricey proposition. It involves sacrifice of time, money, control, comfort, stuff…so many of the things we hold too dear in our lives.

In the coming months, Children’s HopeChest has partnered with Visiting Orphans to provide several such opportunities. Visiting Orphans is a short-term mission sending organization that empowers regular people like us to become the hands and feet of Christ to orphans. These special trips are led by HopeChest staff, visit HopeChest programs, and receive support and coordination from Visiting Orphans.

Check out our trips, and the many upcoming trips around the world run by Visiting Orphans.

Ethiopia :: October 6-116, 2011

Uganda :: October 3-14, 2011

India :: September 14-24, 2011

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