Earn it?

Did Jesus really say that you have to earn eternal life by giving your money to the poor?  Matthew 19:16-27 contains the story.  It would appear that is the thing for the man in question.  So is eternal life earned? and Do we all have to become monks?

I think we can see that it is not a question of earning, but of entering.  If life is available, but something stands in the way, that obstacle needs to be removed.  The obstacle for this man, and reading the following verses would suggest for many more, is attachment to wealth. 

Abraham was asked for his son in Genesis 22.  That after he left land and family.  Peter, James and John left their fishing, and Matthew/Levi his tax collecting business.

The message of John to “repent” was to turn away from rebellion and greed – soldiers should live on their salary, not on graft, for example.

Jesus own message was summarized as “repent and believe”. 

So is that not similar?

Give away your wealth = repent of the love of money

Follow me = believe.

To enter eternal life, we have to renounce our false sources of life.

Since there are wealthy followers in the New Testament, it would appear to this reader, that the problem is not that we all have the same obstacle, but that we all have to renounce whatever obstacles we have.

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