“Many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Jesus made this particular statement to His disciples in the context of an incident where He challenges a rich young ruler to forsake all his riches and follow Him. Let’s quickly read what transpired between the two.
The Rich Young Ruler
A rich young ruler came and asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?
So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love those around you as you love yourself.”
“But I’ve always obeyed every one of them without fail,” the young man replied. “What else do I lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you really want to be perfect, go immediately and sell everything you own. Give all your money to the poor and your treasure will be transferred to heaven. Then come back and follow me for the rest of your life.”
When the young man heard these words, he walked away sad, for he was extremely wealthy.
It takes guts to follow God the way He asks not the way you think
The rich young ruler didn’t have the guts and courage to pursue God. He was extremely rich. He was young. He had power. He had fame. And he even kept all the religious and moral rules.
It seemed he was being the best version of himself at that moment. He was probably the ambitious “A-player”, the alpha male of his time. He was driven and motivated to excel in everything. He seemed to be a good human being.
He was also a seeker. That’s why he came looking for Jesus. Perhaps he realized that something was still missing in his life in spite of all the success. Maybe he was experiencing a God-shaped vacuum inside him that God alone could fill.
From the world’s definition of success, he made it big. He was first. Probably he would have made it to the Forbes’ 20 Under 25 list of the Top-Earning Young Superstars. But from God’s definition of success, he failed. He was last. It really wasn’t about the money. God just exposed his heart. He loved riches more than God. Money was his God, money was his idol.
He was trying to be the best version of himself but without a God-centered life. He was trying to be a good human being. He was seeking God. And Jesus loved him. But he created his own definition of what might be acceptable to God.
The rich young ruler expected Jesus to give an easy answer. He defined what goodness is and tried to be the best in that. He was a goodness freak. But in reality, he loved something else more than the very God who created him, who gave him life and the talents to generate wealth. He refused God, the very epitome of goodness. There was hypocrisy in his life that he didn’t realize.
He had the potential to live forever with an extraordinary wealth, adventure and glory with God on a perfect planet called heaven. It would have surpassed whatever he had or experienced on earth 100x times better in quantity and quality.
He could have used his time, resources and his potential to fulfill the purposes of God on earth. He could have impacted thousands by being a Godly role model. But he chose his own path. He pursued his definition of the good life. That was the moment he lost it.
He exchanged God’s offer for a fleeting 70 to 80 years of wealth, power, entrepreneurship and fame, devoid of a God-centered life. He settled for less. He invested foolishly. He didn’t realize that the ROI will end with his life on the earth. The legacy ends here.
Are we settling for a convenient God?
It is much easier to follow religious rituals, philosophies, and rules. It does not cost much to follow a lesser version of God who does not put a finger on the idols in our hearts. A convenient God is what we would prefer.
Don’t confuse wealth, achievements and world’s applause as God’s approval. Nothing wrong with having riches, being popular, doing charitable works or being famous. Many are in that position but they aren’t a Godly role model for this generation. The way they do life does not honor God. They will eventually loose out in future. One can enjoy few seconds of fame but only to suffer an eternity of shame.
The acid test whether you love God or not is how far are you willing to go to pursue God in the way He asks. How much of yourself are you willing to give away?
God wants your heart not your rules, religious rituals, charity, good works, and money. He created you to have a relationship with Him and to worship Him. God is so super great that He deserves our highest worship.
And when we truly love God, it also frees our heart from the enslavement of idols. The world would have been a better place if we had done just that. Because we reproduce what we worship in our lives.
People who blame God for not stopping evil in the world, are completely oblivious of the truth that it is the idols of lust, greed, and power in their own hearts that has destroyed the world. You will either worship God or worship something less, but every man or woman will worship something. There is no neutral affection.
What is SuperDifferent?
Everyone wants to succeed. We want the best and achieve the highest. Nothing wrong with that. But like that young rich ruler, you can become all that you can be and still lose everything if God is not in the picture. Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”.
Pursuing God no matter what the cost
SuperDifferent is about raising the bar of one’s pursuit of God. It is about going further than most who wouldn’t. It is not settling down for mediocrity, hypocrisy, status-quo, false humility and religiosity.
It is not about feeling special, superior or trying to prove something. It is about the choices we make now knowing that one day we will stand before God and give an account of our lives to Him. It is about being the best version of ourselves without forfeiting a God-centered life.
How far are we willing to pursue and experience God in a way different from our religious traditions? Do you have the guts and the courage to break away from the norm to pursue God? Are you afraid of what people are going say? Are you going to choose the sin you love more than God?
Measuring success from God’s vantage point
SuperDifferent is about measuring success from God’s vantage point. It is a call to move forward with a better perspective on life.
We may be stuck with religion and not know God as a Friend and a Father but the truth is, that He created us intentionally, lovingly and with a definite purpose.
And no matter what circumstances we were born into, God has deposited the seeds of potential to fulfill that purpose. But our choices in life will determine to what extent these seeds of potential will bear fruit as intended by God.
The super notes from SuperDifferent will inspire and challenge you to know God better and do life better. You will be reintroduced to God and to His way of thinking. We will talk about the practicalities of life. You will start seeing the bigger picture.
The super notes will challenge your status-quo. It will be counter-cultural. At times, it will be hard. It will confront you. But it will free you on the inside. It will be the narrow path to true success. And you will realize that it is more important to win before God’s eyes than the world’s eyes.
You got one shot at this life. How far are you willing to go to become all that God wants you to be, both in character and realizing your potential?
Challenge yourself to move forward. Never settle.
“On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” — Anonymous