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Reflection on Turning 67

I turn 67 today. Not much of a milestone except it is the first birthday after my retirement. So not an official milestone, but it does cause me to look at the day as the the first day of the rest of my life. That begs the obvious question, “What am I going to do with it?”

My devotional for today sent me to Luke 18:18-30. This is the story of the rich person to whom Jesus gave the challenge to sell everything and follow him. Unable to surrender everything, the man left in dismay. This story has been a stumbling block for many Christians. Some have taken the view that it means that unless we literally sell everything and live a communal life as some of the Acts Christians we cannot be saved. That has caused many to turn away as the rich man. The broader interpretation is metaphorical; that is, that to be saved we need to release from our hearts anything we put ahead of Christ. That interpretation ascribes to the words of the old hymn, “I Surrender All.”

Both of the interpretations present me with a big problem. I know I will neither sell all of my possessions and join a Christian commune, nor be able to even surrender in my heart everything that stands between me and Christ. Reading this again today, however, I am not sure either interpretation is correct. Verse 27 drew my attention. There, Jesus answered in response to the incredulity of the disciples. They had interpreted the message of Jesus to the rich man as dealing with salvation and had questioned whether anyone could be saved if surrendering all possessions was a condition of salvation. In response, Jesus said., “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

As with the disciples, so many interpretations of this passage see it as a salvation story. In one sense it is, but just the opposite of what is often portrayed. The reply quoted above only makes sense if taken to mean that salvation is unconditional. The disciples saw surrender of possessions as an unattainable condition of earned salvation. Jesus says that God can achieve what humans cannot. Humans think of salvation to be earned. God does not. He gives it away!

The story continues, however, continues with Jesus saying in verse 29 and 30:

“…no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” (Emphasis added.}

Jesus teaches two very important things here. First, that life in the Kingdom occurs not only eternally, but also “in this age”, meaning the present. Second, he gives extreme examples of surrender to emphasize that the more we surrender, the more we can realize that life now. That then brings this story completely in line with everything else Jesus taught: accept salvation by grace and surrender your life to Christ, and the Holy Spirit will transform your life into that as one intended for life in the Kingdom of God.

So what does that mean for me at 67? The scripture affirms that I shall remain a Christian redeemed by the grace of God, and continue the process of transformation into a citizen of the Kingdom of God. I know I will not get there completely in this life, for I will not be able to surrender all just as the rich man. I know, however, that the more I reach for Jesus the more I will see of his Kingdom until I finally see it completely. What a great way to start the first day of the rest of my life!


  1. Don Stephens on August 20, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Thank you, Tom, and happy birthday. You bring freshness to the table!

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Welcome, I'm Tom

I'm Tom Trezise a retired lawyer and corporate executive with over twenty years of experience as a Methodist lay preacher. Raised in Appalachia, I proudly call myself a hillbilly at heart. I'm the executive director of The Everyday Kingdom, a non-profit devoted to fostering a community that helps people find and experience the peace, purpose, and joy available from living every day in Christ’s kingdom.

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