In Luke 10, a Jewish expert in religious law asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What do you say the answer is?” Jesus asked him.
“To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Go and do likewise.”
“But Rabbi, who is my neighbor?”
Jesus then told him the story of a Samaritan—a “crossbreed” despised by the Jews–and his rescue of and care for a mugging victim whose plight had just been ignored by two Jewish holy men.
Rather than loving the unlovely as Jesus did, many of Israel’s religious leaders were far more concerned with politics and power, with the applause of the people, and with the accumulation of wealth. They had no interest in the Savior or his much higher standard of success.
We may not be hardened hypocrites like those leaders, but we often try to gain our self-worth, our identity, and our satisfaction from other things: what we look like, our possessions, our money, our education, career achievements, and so on. We strive for approval from people, sometimes over approval from God. We think productivity and busyness equal success, even in our Christian lives. But it’s never enough.
God calls us to be his children, redeemed and made righteous by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. He calls us to receive his unconditional, unlimited love. He invites us to love him in return, and then to reach out to others. God’s basis for true success is to live in intimate fellowship with him, taking adequate time to hear his voice, and then obeying, doing so with glad and humble hearts.
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that we don’t have to strive to be a success in your eyes. Thank you that through Jesus Christ, we are approved and eternally loved by you. AMEN.