A Conversation About Self-Sufficiency
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For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
Not to say the things that he truly feels
And not the words of someone who kneels
The record shows I took all the blows
And did it my way
Those words written by Paul Anka and sung famously by Frank Sinatra in the song My Way sum up the mindset of generations of people, becoming the anthem of the self-sufficient.
I did it my way, I made it happen, it was by my grit, my determination, my sheer willpower that what I accomplished came to be and no one can take that from me. All I have ever needed is what I have had in me.
Is this anything other than a bowing down to worship at the temple of pride, in front of the idol of self-sufficiency?
In Matthew’s gospel, a young man approached Jesus with a great question, “What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus, knowing the young man’s heart, responded with stinging clarity: Paul and Frank have it wrong. You, young man, have it wrong. There is nothing good in us and nothing that we can do to achieve or resolve our greatest need; that of a restored relationship with our God.
For that young man, eternal life was another hill to climb, another trophy on the mantle, another item to be attained. But he missed the mark by a wide margin. He neglected to see that attaining eternal life is a matter of a heart-decision, and that all we, as human beings, need is not found in us but in someone else.
As we continue our Conversations with Jesus series, we’ll look at Matthew 19 and check our own hearts for self-sufficiency as we listen in on Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler.
Conversations with Jesus
A Conversation about Self-Sufficiency
Matthew 19:16-26 (The Rich Young Man)
April 26, 2020
It’s a real problem when I think that I’m in control
1. It puts me in God’s rightful place (v. 16–17)
2. And makes me think I’m better than I actually am (v. 18–20)
What to do if you sense you’re self-sufficient
(1) If you sense your sufficiency is in…money, give it away.
(2) If you sense your sufficiency is in…possessions, serve the less fortunate.
(3) If you sense your sufficiency is in…your work, look around.
(4) If you sense your sufficiency is in…yourself, ask for help.
3. Which causes unnecessary pain and difficulty (v. 21–24)
The solution? I choose to depend entirely on the self-sufficient one (v. 25–26)