Matthew 19:16-30 – The Male-Female Relationship Point System: You Know What I’m Talking About!

Posted: February 14, 2016 in 40-Gospel of Matthew
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Matthew 19:16-30
Jesus Speaks to the Rich Young Man

On Valentine’s Day, we like to be recognized for having been a good husband, good boyfriend, good wife or a good girlfriend. We starve for recognition. We want to feel important. We like for attention to be drawn to ourselves and have a moment in the spotlight. That is the nature of the Valentine holiday is the recognition of the importance of the people that we love in our lives. It means that we notice. We see what our loved ones do for us. But Valentine comes just once a year. If we do not spend the other 364 days (the other 365 this year, a leap year), loving our husband, wives, boyfriends, and girlfriends daily without recognition then Valentine’s Day is meaningless. If we do not do the hard work of being sacrificially loving to our loved ones during the rest of the year, Valentine’s Day is just done because it is what you are expected to do. Valentine’s Day should be a celebration of saying, “Hey, baby, I notice all the little things that you do everyday that show you love me! It doesn’t go unnoticed! I just save up all the goodwill and shower you with it on one day!”

Yesterday, my wife and I were discussing the fact that she so appreciated me going with her and spending all day long getting her mother moved from her senior independent living apartment into an assisted living facility. It was a day-long affair because her mother though had packed some had not packed a lot. We also had to cram a two bedroom apartment into what amounts to a studio one bedroom apartment. Elena was very thankful that I decided to go with her because this ended up being an all day affair. She said I scored points big time with her! It got us to thinking about with men relationships are point systems. The more points that you accumulate the better probability of getting paid back in amorous ways by our wives. We built up points so that we can cash them in amorous ways. But, as the discussion continued, the points we men gain do not have permanent value. You know, a point gained today devalues over time. A point gained with your wife in 2016 is worth like may a quarter of that value, if any at all at this time next year. So, we as men, must cash our points in within a certain short period of time after we earn them because as we said, our points lose value the longer we hold on to them. As well, if we do not cash them in pretty quickly, we may do something that causes points to be taken away from our point bank by our doing things that disappoint or hurt our wives. We laughed hysterically about the fact that men must cash in their points quickly before they lose value or they do something to lose points. It’s all about the points in the bank baby, I said. We laughed hysterically! As you know, the thing that makes humor, humor, is that the funny is in the kernel of truth that exists in it. Husbands and wives play the points game. Wives control the issuance of the points or the point deductions, we all know that and we all live with it as part of the wonderful dance that we call male-female relationships.

The sad thing about this fact is that we often make our relationship with God about points. Just we men try to earn love points with our wives so that they will give us something in return, we often make our relationship with God the same way. Let’s read about this fact in Matthew 19:16-30:

16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” he inquired.

Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[c] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
Are we living life to earn points with God like we try to earn favor with our wives? There is nothing that we can do to earn enough points to gain access to heaven. That’s what the rich young ruler wanted to learn. How to assure himself of heaven by his deeds! Just as husbands may try to go over the top today to earn favor with their wives to get the reward that they seek, this rich young man wanted to know what the check off list of ideas, what combination of good deeds would assure him of heaven. In this passage we learn that it’s not about the deeds. Yes, we do good deeds as part of being Christians but the good deeds are not the thing, they are the effect. Jesus is the cause and the good deeds are the effect. As Christians we realize that we are sinners and it is only through the mechanism of grace that we stand right with God. No checklist of good deeds can every make us worthy of heaven in the absence of the humble sovereignty of God in our lives. We must love God like we love nothing else. We must love God with intimacy. We must love God with great joy. We must love God in a greater way than any possession that we have. When we love God that much and are so humbly thankful for our salvation that comes only through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross on our behalf, our good deeds pour out of us. We do good deeds as a natural outpouring of our humble service and love of God for what He has done for us. We are so thankful for what He has done for us and from our own realization that hell was our future without Jesus that we pour out good deeds so that others will come to know what we know.
Good deeds just for the sake of good deeds means nothing. If we do not have love for God in our hearts, good deeds are just for show and nothing else. It is the same for us in our relationships with our husbands or wives. If you are not loving your wife daily in sacrificial and sometimes unnoticed ways on a daily basis, your point system is diminished. Your good deeds without love in your heart for your spouse are just meaningless shows if you are not loving your spouse with conviction and heart the other 364 days of the year (365 days this year, a leap year). The points we gain and put in the bank with our wives have greater value and sustain their value longer if we show them that we love them in small loving ways each and every day. If you depend on Valentine’s Day to gain points with your wife and are an ass toward her the rest of the year, you cannot gain enough points on Valentine’s Day to make things right. Love your wife all year long in small loving ways that may or may not get rewarded by her. Just love her and be thankful that she hasn’t kicked you to the curb for being a jerk all these years. Be very thankful. Start today to love her every day and not just Valentine’s Day because you expect a great reward today.

May we love God daily too. We cannot do enough good deeds to earn his love. He loves us despite us only being worthy of being kicked to the curb by Him. But He continues to love us anyway. He gave us Jesus as our reconciliation to Him. He loves us that much. Should we not love Him that much back for what He has done for us. We deserve to be kicked to the curb, but He loves us. Oh how He loves us! Be thankful for that! Celebrate God’s love for us daily in how we live, how we treat others, what we do for others…because we are loved by God and because we cannot do enough to earn it but He loves us oh how He loves us!

Amen and Amen.

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